GILH 270: Music is not an Embellishment

Music itself is part of the language God uses to communicate to us and we use to worship God. Excising it from worship would be like eliminating vowels from written language or sibilants from spoken language. Maybe you could get a lot out of the resulting text. Maybe not.

270. Hence, in celebrating the liturgy singing is not to be regarded as an embellishment superimposed on prayer; rather, it wells up from the depths of a soul intent on prayer and the praise of God and reveals in a full and complete way the community nature of Christian worship.

Christian communities of all kinds seeking to use this form of prayer as frequently as possible are to be commended. Clerics and religious, as well as all the people of God, must be trained by suitable catechesis and practice to join together in singing the hours in a spirit of joy, especially on Sundays and holydays. But it is no easy task to sing the entire office; nor is the Church’s praise to be considered either by origin or by nature the exclusive possession of clerics and monks but the property of the whole Christian community. Therefore several principles must be kept simultaneously in mind if the sung celebration of the liturgy of the hours is to be performed correctly and to stand out in its true nature and splendor.

What does this mean for the parish? I’d say that music directors must begin to treat the LH, when and where prayed, like any wedding or funeral, and appropriate resources of personnel should be mustered for the effort.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to GILH 270: Music is not an Embellishment

  1. talmida says:

    Excising it from worship would be like eliminating vowels from written language…

    You know there are no vowels in written Hebrew, right?


  2. Todd says:

    Thanks Talmida. In the back of my mind, I’m sure I have that fact in my memory bank. Myb thr’s bttr mtphr.

  3. Liam says:

    Eii i o oi ou e ie eiiai ooa o ie auae

  4. Liam says:

    Perhaps that makes the metaphor stronger?

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