Learn, Lead, and Serve in the Spirit of Mary's Magnificat

Mission Reflection

How Can We Keep From Singing?
by Katie Higgins, Assistant Vice President of Mission

As a parent to two young children, there’s a lot of singing that goes on in our home. Still ringing in my ears is “Laudato si' O mi' Signore,” my daughters’ most oft requested song this week: an upbeat tune echoing the song of St. Francis in praise of all creation (and from which Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment is named). I first heard it at the close of a conference this past summer about climate change and the Catholic Church. As the conference drew to a close, my heart felt heavy and my mind was saturated with the sobering realities and challenges facing humankind and our common home. We ended in prayer by singing, “Laudato si' O mi' Signore.” 

With voices joined, the song united and uplifted the hearts of all gathered. It strengthened us to move forward in a spirit not of despair, but of hope. It beckoned us to answer the urgent call to action. 

But I shall sing of your strength,
extol your mercy at dawn,
For you are my fortress,
my refuge in time of trouble.
My strength, your praise I will sing;
you, God, are my fortress, my loving God. 

(Psalm 59: 17-18)

***

In 1989, Servant of God Sr. Thea Bowman addressed the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, preaching, teaching, and singing about her experience as a black Catholic. She delivered a powerful message to this majority-white audience that honored the rich cultural heritage, history, and experience of being black and Catholic. She asserted the dignity of black Catholics and argued for their full inclusion in the American Catholic Church.

Calling on the Church to be a family that journeys together to overcome racism and the suffering and injustices facing God’s people, Sr. Thea led the bishops in singing, “We Shall Overcome.”  With arms crossed over one another and hands joined as in the days of the Civil Rights Movement, Sr. Thea and the bishops sang out together with hope and conviction:

       We shall live in love
       We shall live in love
       We shall live in love today
       Oh, deep in my heart,
       Deep in my heart I know,
       I do believe,
       We shall live in love today.

       (Watch the video here.)

***

Consider the many ways the Spirit of God can move in and through you powerfully through song. How might Mary’s own song of praise, the Magnificat, unite and uplift your heart? How might it fill you with a spirit of hope and conviction? How might it embolden you to answer God’s call for your life and the life of the world? In the face of suffering and fear, whether personal or communal, how can we keep from singing? 

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for you have looked with favor
on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call
me blessed: The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is your name.
You have mercy on those who fear you
in every generation.
You have shown the strength of your arm,
you have scattered the proud in their conceit.
You have cast down the mighty from their thrones, and have lifted up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich you have sent away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel for you have remembered
your promise of mercy, the promise you
made to our ancestors, to Abraham and Sarah and their children forever. Amen.

Past Reflections