I have always loved to sing. I joined the children’s choir as soon as I was able to do in elementary school and loved it. The highlight of my school years, really. I love singing at Church because it doesn’t involve performing at all. I’m not into acting or pretending to be someone I’m not, one of the main reasons Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday. I just prefer to be myself all the time.
Singing is praying twice. ~St. Augustine
I haven’t sung in the choir for quite some time, but I love singing at Mass. At one time or another I’ve loved every kind of music at Mass, but in the last few years my tastes have leaned toward the more traditional hymns and songs. At my parish we do a lot of latin, gregorian chant, and even polyphony. Our choir is quite amazing and honestly, our music is quite simple and incredibly beautiful.
However, it’s not everyone’s tastes – and that’s okay.
We do a lot of latin, at least two Mass parts are in latin each week. This week it was the Gloria and the Agnus Dei. We know the Sanctus as well and most recently we’re learning the Pater Noster. It takes a long time to learn, but our music director takes us through new Mass parts before Mass and longer songs, like the Gloria, we learned line by line over the course of about six weeks. At first people weren’t very excited, but I think they’re catching on now … or they just don’t come to our parish any longer.
I’ve always told teens the following when they don’t like singing at Mass and say they have a bad voice.
If you have a great voice, praise the Lord with it. If you have a not-so-great voice, torture him with it – he’s the one who gave it to you.
I think Steve Agrisano told us that at a retreat we had in high school once. But anyway, it’s always been my thought that, in general, most people can sing so just get over your yourself and sing out at Mass, it’s for the glory of God!
However, the last two weeks at Mass I haven’t been able to sing since I’ve been battling and then getting over the flu. Every time I spoke, I would just have a coughing fit, let along sing and then not feel like I was dying. So I just kept silent during Mass, hardly even responding. Full, Active, Conscious, Internal participation!
So I’ve noticed even more this one particular woman and her husband who sit near me each week. It’s hard to miss them because they’re about 2 to 3 minutes late every week. She comes in, hops over everyone to the middle of a pew and then about a minute later he comes in and does the same.
She loves to sing. She’s been gifted with a loud voice. She’s not been gifted with a voice that can match the note we’re singing. Today she and her husband were looking in the book for the Gloria, which we sang in Latin. I showed them my bulletin (where we print all of our music every week so it doesn’t need to be announced), and she pretty loudly replied, “I hate the latin” with a sneer on her face.
I was so self-conscious the rest of Mass, that she was looking at me or talking about me back and forth with her husband. So awkward … but they’ll probably be there, right in the pew near me again next week, singing out of tune.
I’m still settled on thinking that everyone should sing, no matter the quality of your voice – but we should try to blend together. Even if you have the best voice, it shouldn’t be discernable above and beyond everyone else’s in the congregation. Everyone should blend together to create a beautiful, joyful noise to the Lord. Remember, singing is praying twice!