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Richard Nichols S.J.May 7, 2024 12:00:00 AM1 min read

7 May 2024

Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Another time, according to Acts chapter 16, Paul and Timothy and Silas were thrown into prison in Philippi for creating a disturbance.  They were locked in the innermost cell and had their feet put into the stocks.  No shower, no toilet, no food, no fresh air, no end in sight.  Rather than heaping curses upon their enemies, or plotting their escape, or their revenge, rather than complaining about the judge or the jailer or the entire criminal justice system, they sang hymns of praise to God both by day and by night.  Their fellow prisoners listened to these songs, but the jailer slept.  Then came a sudden earthquake, and the jailer panicked, and almost committed suicide, but the Christians saved him.  They talked him out of it.  Perhaps that jailer would have been better off if he had listened to the Christian singing.  Perhaps it would have inspired him or given him peace and confidence, so that when the crisis came, he would not have panicked. 
Christian singing is important to us as individuals and to our entire society.  Those gifted with the ability to sing or to play an instrument have a duty to make Christian music, to praise God in song, just like Paul, Silas and Timothy.  The rest of us need to spend time listening to Christian music and reflecting on it.  Man is a musical animal, and God deserves our best melodies.  That’s why St. Ignatius wrote that “we ought to praise the frequent hearing of Mass, the singing of hymns, psalmody, and long prayers whether in the church or outside” (Spiritual Exercises 353).