RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: we who sing pray twice

as posted by MaryBeth

Music is a part of the human experience, and part of religious traditions the world over. It is evocative and stirring, and many forms of worship are incomplete without it.

Our title comes from a quote popularly attributed to St. Augustine: “He who sings prays twice.” A little Googling, however, indicates that Augustine didn’t say exactly that. In fact, what he said just doesn’t fit well onto a t-shirt. So we’ll stick with what we have.

Note: This is the rabbit chasing section.

I have to say that this comment sent me on a wild goose chase across the internet searching for what was said. The last time I read this much Augustine was 1994 for a class on City of God.

Here is what I found considering my lack of desire to go to the nearest theological school to search the volumes of text and my non-existent ability to read Latin for myself.

The quote which St. Augustine actually said was:

“For he that singeth praise, not only praiseth, but only praiseth with gladness: he that singeth praise, not only singeth, but also loveth him of whom he singeth. In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving.”
(St. Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 73, 1)

Apparently this has been abridged to “He who sings prays twice” over the centuries.

The quote is referenced in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1156:

1156″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 a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy.” The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. The Church continues and develops this tradition: “Address . . . one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” “He who sings prays twice.”21

The corresponding footnote references St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 72, 1: PL 36, 914;. (The reason why the Catechism says Psalm 72 instead of Psalm 73, is because the Catechism is using Psalm numbering from the Septuagint, which fused two of the earlier psalms, meaning the numbering of the later psalms is out of sync with the usual modern listing).

I also found:

“Cantare amantis est” which is variously translated as “Singing is what the lover does,” or “Singing belongs to one who loves,” or “Singing is loving.”


According to one website, the more famous quote is cited as occurring in Sermon 336 as Qui cantat, bis orat.

Now, back on task.

“Singing reduces stress and increases healthy breathing and emotional expression. Singing taps into a deep, age-old power available to all of us. When we find our voice, we find ourselves. Today, sing like you mean it.” And let’s talk about the role music plays in your life and worship.

1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?)

Music in several forms is present daily. I am very often humming something without even realizing it until someone asks me what song it is. A dear friend noticed that the SportsQueen does it, too.

2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience.

Music has always been a part of worship (and everyday life). I grew up in a church with a very rich music program that started with Kindergartners and went through Adult choir with no gaps. There were choir programs twice a year from 4-6th grades, youth (7-12), and adult choirs. It was not extraordinary for a 20+ piece orchestra to be included with the adult choir. More than once Handel’s Messiah was preformed either before Christmas or Easter. I had no idea how spoiled I was with the extensive music program I took for granted.

3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall?

Music, music, music!

4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things!

I like a lot of different kinds of music in worship (and outside of worship, too). When it comes to kinds of music, I agree with Leonard Bernstein. (I remember watching this live and how profoundly his thoughts about music struck me.)

5) What’s your go-to music … when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points!

My go-to music depends on the circumstance or situation. Here’s one option: (from my camera phone live!)

Here’s another option

but those are not the only ones


About Sarah The Vicar of Hogsmeade

I'm an United Methodist clergywoman with two daughters. I read. I geocache. I look for excuses to laugh. My Ph.D. is on Clergywomen and Grief.
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5 Responses to RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: we who sing pray twice

  1. WoW did you ever do a lot of research before you entered your
    F5! thanks for going to that effort 🙂
    i too had that rich musical church worship background that has blessed me throughout life –
    thx for sharing [& all the xtras!]

  2. Thanks for all the research and the Bernstein clip! Great play today.

  3. Mary Beth says:

    I can't hear the music from your cameraphone…would that be the Eagles?

    Oh and, are you in grad school or something? 🙂

  4. MB – It is the Eagles, specifically “Hotel California.” However, for the sake of this Friday Five just about any song from the old Eagles Live will do or “Pretty Maids all in a row.”

    And, that's ABD (all but dissertation) to you … 🙂

  5. 1-4 Grace says:

    Great FF. Also, your comments later on Preacher Party were funny.
    Loved the small Olvatine.

Overheard at the Three Broomsticks

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