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.