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Andrew Motyka is the Archdiocesan Director of Liturgical Music and Cathedral Music for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
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“If a pope were only ever applauded, he would have to ask himself whether or not he was doing things right.”
— Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (2016)

published 13 November 2013 by Andrew R. Motyka

T’S PROBABLY A BIT EARLY to write a post about Thanksgiving, but by the time Thanksgiving actually comes around, I’m already in full Advent mode.

The other day, I was putting some clean dishes away in the cabinets of our apartment, and one of the doors wouldn’t close all the way. I quickly became frustrated that I had to slightly move the bowls over so that the door had clearance to close. How can anyone be expected to live under those conditions. Anyway, I caught myself almost immediately, thinking about how easily I get annoyed at little things, or even slightly larger things that are trivial in the larger picture. For example, I actually have a place to live and possess plates upon which to put my food.

The next time you get frustrated at your parish, whether it’s because of the praise n’ worship music you hate, or the fact that the cantor actually uses a hand gesture (GASP) to indicate when everyone is to sing, or when Father wears his stole on the outside of his chasuble (I swear, next time I’m wearing my underwear on the outside of my pants), or worst of all, when Andy creates spectacularly long run-on sentences that make you have to go back to the beginning of the paragraph to figure out what he was even talking about, try to put it in some perspective.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t aim for the best we have to offer. I’m saying that we shouldn’t adopt scorched-earth rants just because we had to use that David Haas song that one time.

The other day, I was frustrated about something or other at work, and I had to remind myself just how good I have it. I have a wonderfully talented choir, and they are quite good sports about trying the challenging literature I have thrown at them (and excelled at it). I have a parish that appreciates good liturgy and music, and participate in the singing with no arm-twisting, and don’t complain about the choir singing now and then.

Most of all, what we music directors should all be grateful for is the opportunity to serve God through our musical contributions to the liturgy. I always say that, since my vocation is and always will be to be a husband and father, I would clean filth up if it meant putting food on the table. That I get to do what I love and get paid for it is a blessing indeed.

It’s okay to strive for perfection, and always seek something better. Just keep some perspective and be patient with improvement in your life.