In September of 1837 Eugene writes to Fr. Guigues about the day-to-day running of a community and about the many small things that need to occur, including the type of hymnal for mission and how the Brothers are to be treated.

I had, however, made it clear that we do not speak so much of love in the hymns, that I insist on refrains that all the people can repeat. that the good results from community singing to the entire congregation of the faithful should never be sacrificed to the self-love of some privileged choristers..” (642:IX in Oblate Writings)

I find myself responding (vs reacting) to Eugene’s letters this morning.  I found myself responding to his notes on which hymns to use during the missions.  I do not go to church to simply sit back in a pew and not take part – to me that is like going to a play or a concert.  I go to celebrate and take part in the celebration of the Eucharist.  For me the choir is there to help lead me in the celebration – not to celebrate for me.  I do not have that great a singing voice, but to be able to join in, my part in the celebration is perhaps one of the greatest gifts of the Church.

I guess I must always remember that God does not belong exclusively to myself or just a few other people.  It means so much to me when I am not excluded from something simply because my talents are not the same as another’s, or the situation of my life, or how much I have to give, etc. etc.  And may God forgive me if I try to impose this on any others for that to me is like trying to limit God, to limit who God will forgive and who God will love.

I am always most grateful in my church when I, who am not a very good singer, is invited to join in and be a part of.  God invites us all to the celebration without measurement or judgement and to all of share  our voices in praise.

About Eleanor Rabnett

Oblate Associate
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