Those Who Sing, Pray Twice

Those Who Sing, Pray Twice

As Christmas nears, it’s time for a little extra music practice in our house. Cathy and I both sing in the choir at our parish, Corpus Christi. Music is such a key part of the liturgy all year long, but it seems all the more special during these weeks of readying ourselves to celebrate the Incarnation.

“The one who sings prays twice,” St. Augustine observed, in the 5th century. Those of us who love to sing in Church understand why: singing a prayerful song—whether it be raucous or quiet and meditative, or something in-between—is a whole-body experience. Our thoughts, our feelings, our bodies themselves, are turned toward God in the act of singing. And singing together with a worshiping community—that’s part of what makes us Catholic, isn’t it? Christian, even? (Our December St. Anthonypiano at christmas feister house Messenger magazine has a nice article on that.)

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” Jesus tells us (Mt 18:20). I think he’s singing!

In these weeks of Advent, we sing as we wait. Our songs are tied closely to the Gospel proclaimed as Christmas approaches, songs of waiting, of joy, of repentance. O come, Emmanuel, we sing. O  come, God, be with us. That is our Advent prayer (times two, right, Augustine?).



Photos by John Feister


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).