Wednesday, October 19, 2016

HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?



My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
Above the tumult and the strife, I hear it's music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
-Robert Wadsworth Lowry              


It’s mid-October and I already find myself humming Christmas carols.  I know, let’s not rush the Christmas season, but how can I keep from singing?  The Daughters of St. Paul Choir Christmas concerts are about six weeks away!  The early December concerts have become a tradition for me. The beauty and simplicity of Christmas can easily get lost in our fast-paced and materialistic world. Listening to the sisters sing, if you are fortunate enough, at one of their concerts or through a CD brings a sense of calm, spirituality and peace to what can easily become a stress-filled, hectic holiday. As new family members are introduced to the concerts, they all comment, “It is not what I expected!” Although filled with holiday classics, the sisters may also include a fun dance or two!

A favorite song during every concert is “Angels Among Us,” which the sisters refer to as their signature song.  A favorite verse from this song:  “When life held troubled times and had me down on my knees, there’s always been someone to come along and comfort me. A kind word from a stranger, to lend a helping hand, a phone call from a friend, just to say I understand.”  While we all have angels who help us in our times of need, the Daughters of St. Paul are truly angels among us – helping us find our way and awakening the hearts of people in a contemporary way to the love of God, not only at Christmas but all through the year.

While the Christmas concerts are popular, the Choir has songs for every season and prayer need -- instrumental music for quiet meditation, CDs to guide us in prayer while saying the Rosary, praise and worship songs and Marian hymns during feasts celebrating our Blessed Mother. To view all of their albums, learn more about them and even meet the choir, check out their website: http://daughtersofstpaulchoir.com. Music is one of the ways the sisters evangelize; it is a ministry of prayer for them.

As the saying goes, “music makes the world go round.”  From the womb to the end of life, singing is both therapeutic and spiritual.  It engages our hearts as well as our minds.  It can address the physical, emotional and social needs of people, put babies to sleep and calm the anxious.  It provides avenues of communication for individuals who find it difficult to express themselves in words.

As lay Paulines, we too can evangelize through music.  Share your favorite inspirational song or verse with someone who may need a “pick me up.”  For personal use, choose a favorite and write it down; put it in your cell phone, pocket or purse.  During anxious moments of the day, go back and pray with it.


Why not try to make a practice of singing in your prayer time? Choose hymns and songs whose words reflect and express to the Lord what is in your heart. Can’t carry a tune? Don’t worry. God can hear what is coming from your heart. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Sing and dance along with a favorite praise and worship CD.

Let’s look at the Psalms which are part of our liturgy.  It’s easy to forget that they were originally songs and can express whatever our need might be.


Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright.  Praise the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings with loud shouts.  (Psalm 33: 1 – 3)

O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.  (Psalm 96: 1 – 2)

Make a joyful noise to the lord; all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.  (Psalm 100: 1-2)

Our beloved St. Paul reminds us:  Speak to each other in psalms, songs, and spiritual songs; sing praise to the Lord in your hearts.  (Ephesians 5: 19)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish each other with all wisdom; sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God with thanks in your hearts.  (Colossians 3:16)

In Acts 16:25:  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  St. Paul was singing in a prison cell!  How do we react when in a difficult situation?  Do we turn our heart and voice to God?

While hymns and other spiritual songs are beautiful aids to prayer, secular music can also speak to our hearts.  A song by Tim McGraw, “Humble and Kind,” recently touched me.  In today’s world of political strife, overuse use of cell phones, misuse of social media, etc., the song spoke of simple but important values we want to possess and pass on to our family:  “Hold the door, say please, say thank you.  Don’t steal, don’t cheat and don’t lie. I know you’ve got mountains to climb, but always stay humble and kind.  When the dreams you’re dreaming come to you, when the work you put in is realized, let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind.”  Sounds like wisdom from Saint Mother Teresa.

For the complete list of the 2016 season's concerts click here
Thinking again about the concerts, maybe this year I will just have to plan a road trip from New Jersey to Boston to attend every one! If you can attend one, do so.  You won’t be disappointed!


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Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator for eight years. Semi-retired as a credit/AR manager in NJ, she is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of four. She serves as a Eucharistic minister and belongs to a Divine Mercy Cenacle group. Maryann assists at Pauline book fairs and J-Club events, schedules meetings and prayer times for local Cooperators and friends of the Pauline Family, and accompanied a candidate in the Cooperator formation program. She participated in a Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage to Italy in 2010.

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