Sacred Song: United to the Word

Oct 30, 2017

“The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as sacred song united to the words, it forms a necessary or integral part of the solemn liturgy.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 112)

This quote is from the document Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which is one of the constitutions of the Second Vatican Council. Contained within, are the fundamental principles and guidelines of the role of music in the liturgy.

Following last weeks post, “Pentecost and Antiphons,” the reasoning behind using an antiphon was realized through this document. Indeed, sacred song would not be sacred were it not for the connection to the sacred scriptures. This is the deciding factor in the musical selections for mass, which may seem an obvious point, but in order to fully realize this connection in our liturgies, we find it necessary to get out of the hymnal sometimes by using different psalm settings, antiphons, etc., (many of which are newly composed works!) in order to hear the scriptural texts prescribed by the church.

I hope you find the “extra-hymnal” music selection enlightening and prayerful during mass and that you have an understanding of why we are singing them. Singing, listening, observing, posture and prayer, on your part, are integral components of a truly solemn liturgy!

Sing to the Glory of God,
Mac Cooney