AST WEEK, I posted about the danger of confusing Praise and Worship and the actual Worship, the Liturgy. My post and the article on the LifeTeen blog led to some intense discussions. The discussions were mainly on the meaning of the term “Worship”. The term itself might have different meanings based on different religions and dictionaries. But in the Roman Catholic tradition, it has always meant the Liturgy, that is the Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, Sacraments, Exposition and Benediction. Because of that, the term “Worship” should not be watered down to just any prayer meeting, like praise with guitars and drums.
During our discussion, this following line came up:
I find praise and worship odd when the Blessed Sacrament is not present.
I do not wish to discuss whether praise music should be sung during Exposition and other liturgies because that is not the point of this post. I would like to focus on the sentence above objectively. I have heard similar lines from people many times when I was in Steubenville. I totally understand what my friend was trying to say and some of you might think what I am about to do is just me being too picky. But bear with me.
After I read the line, I felt there is something wrong with it and it is disturbing. I tried to look at the sentence objectively and analyze the structure of the sentence: “praise and worship” is the subject and “Blessed Sacrament” is the object of the line. If the Eucharist is the source and summit, shouldn’t this sentence be reverse? Saying that the Eucharist makes praise and worship better is basically saying that praise and worship is the cake and the Eucharist is the frosting. But the truth is, the Eucharist is the cake, the source and summit, and praise and worship is the frosting, devotion that leads us to Christ.
Now, let’s apply the same idea to Sacred Music and the Liturgy. Sacred Music is the handmaid of the Liturgy. The Liturgy is the cake and Sacred Music is the frosting; Liturgical Music elevates the minds of the Faithful to God and add solemnity to the Liturgy.
OR MANY church musicians, now is the beginning of a new music season. We need to be careful not to reverse the cake and the frosting. We need to remember to “sing the Mass”, but not just “sing at Mass”. We must pray as we sing. It is not a performance, however, nice-looking frosting attracts people and “elevate people’s minds”; quality and certain level of perfection is still required. Similarly, quality and authentic Sacred Music (or as the Church said: Holy, Beautiful and Universal music) will lead people to our Lord.
Now would be a good time to learn or review how to Sing Prayerfully.