More in Music
A Selection of Advent & Christmas Songs
December 19

A Selection of Advent & Christmas Songs

This selection of Advent and Christmas pieces features music both old and new, in a variety of styles and languages, and highlights different aspects of the incarnation and the story of Christ’s birth.

More in Coronavirus
A Minnesota Toy Story
Branches Coronavirus
January 4

A Minnesota Toy Story

In December, Action members sponsored a toy and clothing giveaway on the West Side of St. Paul, distributing gifts to over 100 neighborhood children.

From Sorrow to Singing

"Christ With Two Disciples", by Rembrandt

In a chapter called “The Meaning of the Psalms,” the Coptic monk Matthew the Poor writes, “the Psalms transform the state of sorrow in our hearts into a state of prayer.” (See his book, Words for Our Time.)

He continues, “Once you begin a psalm and detect the touch of the Spirit, you will know it to be an inward call to prayer, as well as permission from heaven to speak before God.”

Many inspired songs, hymns and spirituals work in much the same way.

They give us permission to speak in a certain way, and the best songs give us the words to use, when we can’t seem to find the right words ourselves.

One of my favorite spirituals is called “I’m Going To Tell God All of My Troubles.” I especially admire the version by the soprano Beatrice Rippy, who is accompanied by her husband Carroll Hollister on the piano.

“I’m going to tell God all of my troubles when I get home,” Rippy sings. “I’m going to tell him the road was rocky.” 

A friend can speak to a friend with this kind of honesty and directness. 

The singer finds her footing through knowing and believing that God is a friend like this, one she can tell her troubles to. She responds to him generously, “I’m gonna live so God can use me, ‘til I get home.”

Today we bring you a variety of psalms and psalm-like songs, from U2, to Ralph Vaughan Williams, to an Aramaic chant, to our own missionaries, even a song of my own from a few years back. Perhaps one of these will resonate with you, but if the first song doesn’t, just move on to the next one, as Matthew the Poor advises us to do with the Psalms:

“You pass by one psalm, then another, until you arrive at a particular one that arouses your soul, and an inner stirring occurs, mingled with great joy.”

May you find great joy today in psalms and in song.

In Christ, Sean Connolly

You can listen to these songs on our YouTube playlist or by scrolling down.


  1. Tom M Caneff says:

    SUCH a great idea, Sean. Thanks very very much.

  2. Ken Herceg says:

    The Aramaic Chant is superbly beautiful. It reminds me of the Franciscan Novices at Our Lady of Angels in Cleveland. There was a Franciscan seminary there.
    "It is Well with My Soul" is very moving. I can't believe they did this over the internet. Isn't science wonderful!
    Isn't God Wonderful!

  3. marlene gehl says:

    Aramaic Chant takes me to the time of Christ! What a blessing!!!
    And our household agrees that we could listen to "It is Well with my Soul" all day long.
    Thank you for sending these gems!!

  4. Lynne Miller says:

    All amazing and moving pieces! Thank you for compiling such a variety of music and sound!

  5. Steve Koller says:

    Thanks for sending this out! U2's song "40" certainly resonates with me. First heard it at the Brotherhood home while I was in high school and then later live in concert when I was a freshman in college in 1987 (In line all night for tickets!). I will never forget hearing the whole arena sing together in unison. It was deeply moving, even for an 18 year old.

  6. Ann Davis says:

    Beatrice Rippy, Aramaic Chant both tough me deeply. Wept through “I Want Jesus To Walk With Me”. And I also found “It Is Well With My Soul” online and play it often! What a blessing music is.

  7. Ann Davis says:

    Beatrice Rippy, Aramaic Chant both tough me deeply. Wept through “I Want Jesus To Walk With Me”. And I also found “It Is Well With My Soul” online and play it often! What a blessing music is.

  8. Ron Gouveia says:

    I love the Dedication song. It's inspiring. I just keep playing it over and over.!

Leave a Response