By Devin Watkins
Singing elevates the soul, making it "more sensitive to the voice of the Spirit.”
Pope Francis described the musical art in this way, while speaking to 300-odd members of the “Alumni of Heaven” Choir Association on Saturday.
The Association is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation by Fr. Giuseppe Arione SJ. The Alumni seek to evangelize through music and concerts, which they perform throughout Italy and Europe.
Singing builds communion
Pope Francis reflected on the art of singing, which can express “joy, trust, repentance, and love.”
“Singing is a language that leads to the communion of hearts,” he said. “Crossing every boundary, you spread a message of peace and solidarity.”
The Pope said the Association’s charism is rooted in Scripture, especially in the Psalms: “Give thanks to the Lord on the harp; on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise” (Psalm 33:2).
Rich spiritual life
He recalled Fr. Arione’s words: “Walk to find others; stop to find yourself.”
“You must take care of your interior life,” the Pope said, “without letting it be ‘stolen’ by the din of the world. Cultivate it through personal and communal prayer, listening to the Word of God, and participating frequently in the Sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist.”
With a rich spiritual life, he said, “your voices and melodies will not only satisfy good taste in music, but, enriched by your witness of the Christian life, will favor the desire for communion with God in those who listen to you.”
Harmony leads to prayer
Pope Francis said a choir-singer learns to experience joy and fascination with polyphony.
This harmony of voices, he said, should be found in everyday life, both within the choir and outside it. “Keep in mind that, even more than the beauty of your songs, others will recognize you as disciples and witnesses of Christ if you love one another as He has loved us.”
Music and singing, he said, “are capable of transmitting the beauty and strength of Christian love.”
Finally, Pope Francis invited the Alumni of Heaven to “go the crossroads of the streets” and to bring the Gospel in song to young people.
“May the smile on your faces, the freshness of your voices, and the harmony of your songs dispose you to prayer and arouse in those who hear you the true joy of life and hope for the future.”