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I am a cantor at my parish.  This is something that I struggle with.  I have been cantoring for a couple of years now and for most of that time, I have been a bundle of nerves.  My legs shake uncontrollably, my voice quavers when it shouldn’t, and I’m sure I have looked pretty miserable up there.  Why in the world would I do it?  Because I can sing.  I’m not any Maria Callas, mind you, but I do have a clear soprano voice, and can sing on pitch and in time.

But I’ve always hated singing in front of others.  I am vain, and I think that I wanted to “wow” the congregation.  It has always been about me, me, me, and how great or how terrible I would sound.  I know this about myself and I struggle with it.  Lately, I’ve been working on this a little more pro-actively.  Before Mass, I pray.  Specifically, I pray that my singing is not for the glory of ME, but for the glory of GOD.  I pray that my singing will aid the worship, and if God wills, it will move someone.  And if not, at least it won’t be distracting.

And ya know?  My butterflies have disappeared.  This isn’t parlor games, as in “I’ll pray and then I’ll sing better.”  No, I really mean it.  I DON’T want to be up there as me, I just want to cantor and do as good a job as I can do, but only insofar as it aids the worship.  It has been a huge step forward for me, taking the “me” out of the ministry, and it is cool.

I bet it works for other stuff, too, and as my journey continues, I hope that I can have other breakthroughs.


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"People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway." - Blessed Mother Teresa