Our music

I still miss the churches back home.  Depending on the time of the Mass and the church I attended, I knew exactly what to expect.

Whether the song was Be Not Afraid, which reassures me of God’s love, or On Eagle’s Wings, which chokes me up so badly that I have to fight back the tears if I want to sing along, I’ve always delighted not only in our familiar songs but also in our shared faith.

I still believe what Sister Margaret once told us: God loves to hear our prayers and praise through the music we sing.


Yesterday Jay Masterson, music director at St. Joseph Church, emailed.

Pope Benedict’s love of classical music unites him with many people.  Music is truly an avenue to experience spiritually from many different aspects.  His comments on Schubert add a dimension to my appreciation of the piece.  In addition, he provides us with a window on how music feeds Papa Ratzinger’s soul.  I’m glad he can enjoy music even though he has many concerns about the state of the Church.  With Christ all things are possible.


Today, Jay added this:

Life is short, precious, and filled with  challenges.  Music has been the one thing that I have held in my heart  since my childhood.  Music has comforted and inspired me through tough times even though I have little formal training.  Music transcends time and space, intersects and then penetrates the hard crust of the world system that we occupy in our daily lives.



Dear Saint Cecilia, one thing we know for certain about you is that you became a heroic martyr in fidelity to your divine Bridegroom.  We do not know that you were a musician, but we are told that you heard angels sing.  Inspire musicians to gladden the hearts of people by filling the air with God’s gift of music and reminding them of the divine Musician who created all beauty.  Amen.

O Lord, please bless this music that it might glorify your name.  May the talent that you have bestowed upon me be used only to serve you.  Let this music be a witness to your majesty and love, and remind us that you are always watching, and listening, from your throne above.  May your presence and beauty be found in every note, and may the words that are sung reach the hearts of your people so they will draw closer to you.  May your Spirit guide us through every measure so that we might be the instruments of your peace and proclaim your glory with glad voices.  Amen.

August 20, 2015

If our hearts are given to anything else the way they ought to be given to the Lord, they remain unfulfilled like an unresolved strand of music.  This is why the more we resist God, the more suffering we cause ourselves
(St. Bernard).

November 20, 2015

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song (Psalm 95:1-2).

November 27, 2015

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16).

September 16, 2016

“Your body is the harp of your soul, and it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds” (Kahlil Gibran).

July 21, 2017

The secret of Saint Francis’ joyful spirit was his vibrant belief in a God of overflowing goodness and love.  Francis was so in love with God that at times he would pick up two sticks from the ground, tuck one under his chin like a violin and move the other over it like a bow.  Then, in an ecstasy of joy, he would sing in French songs of love and praise to God.

Francis used to say that he wanted his followers to go about the world like strolling minstrels, “to inspire the hearts of people and stir them to spiritual joy.”  They give us an example to follow in our own day! (Jack Wintz, OFM).

August 23, 2017

“When you pray to God with psalms and hymns, meditate in your heart upon that which you utter with your voice” (St. Augustine).

October 29, 2017

We often think of obedience as compliance with a command.  But this would make God some sort of exalted drill sergeant.  In my experience, most of the time, God doesn’t command.  Rather, God sings, and I sing back.

The singing, I mean, can be as jubilant as the red of God-made tomatoes, as the soaring of a kite or the splashing of children in a pool.  The singing is my heart’s joyous response.  But God’s singing can also be as heavy as the fragrance of lilies in a funeral home, heavy as the news of a friend’s grief.  God’s singing can be as light as harpsichord music or a spring outing, as sad as the howling of a night train or the evening news.  It can be cheerful, enchanting, challenging, amusing.  In everything we experience we can hear God singing, if we listen attentively (Br. David Steindl-Rast in The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life).

Jay’s tribute (below) to Ben, beloved friend & virtuoso accompanist – SJC

Links of interest…  17th century hymn to the Virgin Mary…  Ben Jenkins…  Catholic composers: Hildegard von Bingen…  Classical music (free download)…  Evangelizing power of the pipe organ…  If music be the food of love…  Innocuous but uninspired music at Mass…  Intersection of Catholic faith & modern classical music…  Is singing praying twice…  Lord, I lift your name on high  Music can improve your healthhas long spoken to me / provides a deeper sense of promise…  Musicians perform for pope one of his favorites…  Mystery of the Trinity that we forget…  New kind of music…  Patronage as evangelization…  Pope’s choirmusic…  Pre-battle chant of the Knights Templar…  Ricordi Archive online…  Sacred music: Echoing on earth the heavenly choir…  Saints who were musicians…  Six easy steps to improve the use of music at your church…  Songs come from prayer…  Spring requiems: New Catholic music for mourning…  St. Cecilia: patron saint for musicians, singersprayers…  St. Gregory the Great…  Supreme musical achievement of J.S. Bach…  Three Catholic men, their music & mercy…  To pray, just sing…  Tradition of sacred choral music needs to be “revived”…  “Txichochi Conetzintle” sung for our Lady of Guadalupe…  “Via dolorosa” of sacred music & hope for its resurrection…  Weightless (reducing anxiety)…  Why there’s hope for Catholic liturgical music / we owe our seven musical notes to St. John the Baptist

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