A regular comment that I hear when I am talking with people about the music at Mass is, “Oh, well, I can’t sing at all.” But I don’t think that is the point of singing. Don’t we come to church to give glory to God? I carefully choose the music that is used at Mass with a great deal of thought given to the words of the songs, and without exception the songs we are singing are either praises to God, or prayers.
Attending Mass is not something that is easy or passive, like watching television or going to a movie. The word “liturgy” in Greek means “public work.” And it can be hard work. It’s certainly not entertainment. In order to be worshiping God, we need to be actively participating, obviously by saying the prayers, but we also give glory to God by singing the prayers that are in the songs-even though we often don’t “feel like” expending energy in that way!
In the same way that someone does not need to be a great orator in order to say a prayer, no one needs to be an accomplished musician to praise the Lord through singing! In fact, if every one sang, the very few people who are actually tone-deaf wouldn’t be able to be heard-and that is the beauty of congregational singing.
I’m not asking you to join the choir (although if you can carry a tune-and that includes “Happy Birthday”-the choir is always looking for new members!) but I am asking you to prayerfully consider your personal participation in Mass, whether or not you think you’re “good” at it.
As Mother Teresa summarized it, “We are not always called to be successful, but we are called to be faithful.”
....I wish that I had thought to quote more from Musicam Sacram and/or Sacrosanctum Conciliwhatever. I was just skimming through them yesterday to find the quote for my boss about "choirs of men or boys," and I ran across a couple of bits about the participation of the whole people that would have been great for the article. meh.