HEN the news broke that public Masses were suspended, it is an understatement to say that many of us were quite distraught. In fact, some of us were downright heartbroken. Several of my friends were determined that they should not be deprived of the Sacraments and went to SSPX. When the suspension of public Masses extended to all sacraments, my shock and sorrow was even greater. I was sorely tempted to go the SSPX route as well.
The debate about whether going to SSPX is acceptable has been ongoing amongst my friends, with people on both sides of the fence. But since I am wholly unqualified to make any public assertions about whether that is a good decision or a bad decision, I will simply refer to my own personal situation. Under obedience to my husband, who has made the decision for our family, we are on full lockdown and we will not go to SSPX. We instead pray at home, watch Masses on live stream, pray the family rosary and make our perfect Act of Contrition. I know of many other families who seem to be enjoying this time at home and their spiritual fruitfulness is flowering beautifully in a way that they had not previously experienced. They read spiritual books, they watch homilies, commiserate with friends about spiritual things via text loops, and pray a lot.
I wish I could say that this is the case for me as well, but the loss of the sacraments and more specifically not being able to attend Holy Mass has caused a spiritual dryness in me. For those who draw close to the Lord through music, singing at Mass is how we pray, how we connect with God, and how we hear his voice.
Perhaps this lockdown is teaching us an important lesson. While I’m sure we always thought that we were singing or leading music to draw others closer to God, perhaps another reason is that it draws us closer to God. I do not only refer to music directors, but to all the singers in the choir who dedicate their entire week to perfecting their parts so that they may glorify the Lord on Sundays. Their voices, too, have been silenced by the quarantine. Because our preferred method of prayer has been silenced, we have come to know a deep spiritual dryness.
I would like to encourage church musicians (both singers and directors) who are now home and can no longer sing at Mass to not to stop singing. We have lost the anchor of weekly practices and Sunday Mass, but you still have your music. Sing!
Sing the Stella Caeli Extirpavit, which is a supplication to the Virgin Mary in times of plague. When the pressures of home and children are making you angry and irritable, chant the St. Michael prayer. Chant the Holy Rosary. And since today is Good Friday, sing the Vexilla Regis! The Lord, after all, still hears you. Don’t stop talking to him in the language you know best.