I'm doing a LOT of reading right now about music in the liturgy so I can understand better why we sing and how to fulfill the obligation my family has taken on of providing holy and sanctifying music that leads people toward Christ. It's a commission that we feel keenly and strive to prepare ourselves well for.
There is a chapter in Sacrosanctum Consilium that is dedicated to sacred music and while it is very short, there is a LOT to take in from it's 10 articles. To give you an idea, here's how Chapter 6 starts:
"The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art."
No pressure there! lol
Within that same article, the purpose of sacred music is defined as glorifying God and sanctifying the faithful.
See? This is some really good stuff! I encourage you to go read the whole thing for yourself. But it serves to really encourage what I've been leaning towards anyway, which is choosing music that is the best we can find, the most holy we can find, the most closely related to scripture that fits the liturgical moment.
But there's more! Check this part out:
Article 114 says:
"The treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care. Choirs must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches; but bishops and other pastors of souls must be at pains to ensure that, whenever the sacred action is to be celebrated with song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs..."
You see what that says? It means that whenever we are leading hymns or Mass parts, the congregation, the people who have come to praise the Lord and commune with Christ, are to contribute and join in!
Dear friends, music isn't just reserved for people who are trained in it. Music is a gift from God, and He wants YOU to participate. Each voice matters, each heart, each soul.
That article ALSO says that we are to be care-takers of the vast treasure-trove of sacred music that has been handed down to us. We are to learn it and keep it sacred. We are to form choirs that learn to sing sacred texts. And we are to make a joyful noise in praise of our Lord.
I bet I'll have lots more to say in the near future about what I'm learning, but there is so much to learn just from this little piece of writing! I hope you take a moment to read it and let me know what your biggest take-away is.