Church History Forum: Quote from St. Augustine
Quote from St. Augustine QUESTION from Patricia Parise on March 3, 2002 This is the second time I am submitting this question because I know how busy you must be.
It has been brought to my attention that St. Augustine has said, One who sings well prays twice. Several priests have told me that the quote is He who sings prays twice.
Is it possible for you to let me know what the correct quote is so that when I try to convince those, myself included, that just because we do not sound like a great vocalist we should still sing, from the heart, during Mass.
ANSWER by Q & A Staff on March 22, 2002 Dear Patricia,
I'm sorry for the delay in replying, there were some problems with the server and your first question did not arrive at all.
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:
1156The 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).
You can find the text of Psalm 73 here
As an aside, it is good to keep in mind how frequently the Scripture tell us to sing to the Lord, or tell of the saints to sing to God.. A representative sample of verses follows: Psalm 9:2; 30:4, 32:11; 33:1-3; 42:8; 66:1-4; 68:4, 24-26; 71:22-23; 81:1-2; 89:1; 92:1-4; 98:1; 100:2; 105:2; 108:1; 138:1-5; 144:9; 147:1; 149:1-5. Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Revelation 5:9-10; 12-13; 15: 3-4.
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