Bis orat qui bene cantat


Latin: Bis orat qui cantat has been traditionally attributed to St. Augustine (d. 430 CE). The version with the included “bene” is from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and can be translated as “Whoever sings well prays twice over”. Hence singing, as a primary form of prayer, is a very ancient tradition in Christianity indeed!

By the way, for years I had a problem with that “bene”. How could we be required to be great singers in order to pray twice? Then I got it. It was my own perfectionism putting a slant on everything I hear and see. We are not asked to be professional operatic singers, but to sing well, with enthusiasm, and conviction, and joy. That is praying twice as well.

See, for example, articles 39 through 41 of the GIRM at:

Chapter II, Section II, under the heading of  The Importance of Singing


St. Augustine of Hippo