Have you ever heard angels singing?
I think I have for real, once at a charismatic prayer meeting. But earlier this week, I swear the angels came down and joined the choir at Mass. Or maybe it was we who were lifted up into heaven, “joining our voices with angels and archangels” as the liturgy proclaims.
I was in Birmingham at EWTN, preparing to be a guest on At Home with Jim & Joy. I made my way at sunrise to mass in the chapel there, figuring a half hour early would give me plenty of quiet before others arrived. But the chapel was packed (by COVID standards)! I slipped into the last available seat, knelt down and began to pray.
It was then that the music started. Oh, my. There is sacred music, and there is sacred music. This was heavenly. And at daily Mass! I could hardly believe it. I may not have prayed verbally then, but it had to be prayer to be lifting my heart with their voices to God. And that was just the pre-Mass practice. Now and then the director would stop and have the choir repeat, or pull in an additional voice to strengthen a high note. His reverence for the music and the words was evident in everything he said. They weren’t preparing a performance, but to worship.
During Mass, right about the time the choir sang “The Lord be with you … lift up your hearts” (although they sang in Latin, not English), the sun rose high enough to send a rosy glow through the vaulted window behind the altar. Etched angels came into view, playing their harps and viols and tambourines. I couldn’t tell who was singing: we in the pews; the choir; or the angels in heaven.
Maybe this is what heaven will be like! We laugh at the classic picture of heaven as an eternity of angels playing harps among the clouds. My vision of what that might be has suddenly changed. I now can’t wait.
© 2021 Sarah Christmyer
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You can join in EWTN’s daily mass and experience the worship yourself at 8 am ET here.
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I talked with Jim and Joy Pinto about what women of the Old Testament can teach us about saying “yes” to God, which I wrote about in Becoming Women of the Word: How to Answer God’s Call with Purpose and Joy. The two-part interview aired Wednesday and Thursday, February 24 and 25, 2021 and can be seen here at this link or starting here on YouTube.