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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"Since such is the nature of man that he cannot easily without external means be raised to meditation on divine things, on that account holy Mother Church has instituted certain rites, namely that certain things be pronounced in a subdued tone (canon and words of consecration) and others in a louder tone; she has likewise made use of ceremonies such as mystical blessings, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind in accordance with apostolic teaching and tradition, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be commended, and the minds of the faithful excited by these visible signs of religion and piety to the contemplation of the most sublime matters which are hidden in this sacrifice."
— Council of Trent (Session XXII)

God Has No Need of Our Music
published 5 February 2017 by Fr. David Friel

OT EVERYONE appreciates the value of the liturgy, nor do all understand the value of particular aspects of liturgical celebration. For some, church architecture seems frivolous, while to others, it is “organized religion” that poses a difficulty. For some, the very idea of offering a “sacrifice” is interpreted (wrongly, I believe) as unnecessary, unfruitful, or unscriptural.

The value and pertinence of sacred music, also, is very often not well understood or appreciated. After all, some people ask, what good does a choir accomplish? What purpose does singing serve in the act of worship? “God doesn’t need to hear your music,” they might say. “He has no need of your praise or your music.”

A passage from Saint Irenaeus might serve as a clarifying response to such a position:

The Lord gave directions to His disciples to offer first-fruits to God from His own creatures, not as though He stood in need of them, but in order that they, themselves, might be neither unfruitful nor ungrateful. (Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 4.17.5; trans. adapt. from David Power, Irenaeus of Lyons on Baptism and Eucharist {Nottingham, England: Grove Books, 1991}, 15-16)

Indeed, while God may have no need of our music, nor does He have need of our worship, our love, or our very existence. This is precisely how we know the magnitude of His love.

UR DILIGENCE in the work of sacred music, therefore, serves not to fulfill a need on God’s part (as though the Godhead could stand in “need” of anything). Our worship, rather, serves to fulfill our own need to bear fruit for God and to express our gratitude for His munificence.