Why do I have an urge to dance singing at Mass?

All the time all of a sudden, I have the urge to sing loud and dance in Mass (NOTE: I sing loud, but don’t dance, but want to BADLY) even with the songs like “Lift High the Cross” “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”…etc. Why do I want to just burst out dancing?

I think I have been around kids in CCD too long, I too sometimes find myself thinking up “hand motions” to traditional hymns. I came to this parish to meet the priest after Mass for my job interview. His practice is to play “contemporary” Christian music before Mass (to keep people singing rather than talking in church). They are the kinds of songs I had heard and sung before charismatic settings, so I start singing, hand raised, swaying a bit. Of course I was in the front row, and it took a couple of tunes before I realized I was the only one grooving. I still got the job.

Because you’re being tempted and need to remember to act like a mature adult in Church.

The reason is very simple: Meter.

Meter is the regular beat of a tune. It is present in all songs with a regular beat. We notice this more in modern rock music because it is emphasized with drumbeats and guitar strumming, but it is also present in hymnody - though not as pronounced. This regular, pulsating rhythm appeals to our lower appetites - lower because it is base. I’m not saying it’s bad - I LOVE to listen to catchy tunes on the radio as I drive. It keeps me alert and makes my drive enjoyable. I often tap my hands on the steering wheel and pretend I’m the drummer (and get funny looks from passers-by).

However, at Mass we can’t let these instincts overtake us. Our faith and love as Christians are primarily acts of the will, not feelings or emotions. We choose to love, have faith, be contrite, etc… Not that emotions are bad, but they can be misleading. Example: you confess your sins in the confessional with contrition and a resolution to amend your life. You walk out of the confessional but still feel guilty for these sins. This “feeling” of guilt should be rejected by your will because you trust in Christ’s promise of forgiveness. So, your feelings must always be subjected to your will. If your mind tells you that it is improper and distracting to dance at Mass, then you should obey your will, not your feelings.

Incidentally, this is one reason why I prefer Gregorian chant. Many Western ears (like mine) are initially drawn to chant and repulsed at the same time. Why? It has no meter. Chant has what is called a tactus. It is not a regular beat, but a sort of pattern of pulses. Chant is like speaking while using notes. To Western ears, this irregularity seems both ethereal and estranging. The lack of a regular beat also is disconcerting for those who are used to regular beats. It takes getting used to, but the wisdom of the Church Fathers is evident when you get acclimated to it.

Maybe I should re-word this, because some people aren’t understanding what I’m trying to say. What I mean is like I just want to start swaying, I feel the spirit within me, and I just want to move. I don’t mean like how you would dance to some like T-Pain song or whatever, but like I just feel the spirit within me.

Does this happen only in church, or elsewhere as well?

Good for you! I don’t think everyone here “gets” what you’re saying. You’re not talk about something base, or a temptation. You’re talking about the Spirit of God bursting out from within you.

Personally, I think there’s nothing wrong with putting your body into your praise. It’s what bodies are for. :extrahappy:

I sway.

Now let the others tell me how I’m sinning.

I think this is the key

flipping through the missalette not long ago I notice majority of traditional hymns are written in 3/4 time, why do so many organists play them as funeral dirges? That is waltz time – shall we dance 1 2 3, think of the waltz banged out in The King and I.

Is it because you love the Lord? Sounds like you’re happier and more engaged in the Liturgy than almost anyone there!!!

I get the same feeling even during prayers just go with it, the spirit had david dancing in the streets. its sign of your love for god. personaly when I go for communion I feel so giddy and full of life Its like I did a line of cocain (have not done so in years but the rush I feel is almost the same only pure in love, joy). The blood of christ is the only mind altering intoxicant I need in my life.

I used to witness this at my pentecostal church before becoming Catholic. I saw someone doing this during the Christmas Mass and found it very distracting. Hard to concentrate on God with people waving around. If you want to do that before Mass thats one thing but during Mass I appreciate the respectfulness of typical praise.

God Bless


While I can understand your sentiments, we need to understand that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the Church’s highest prayer. The Church is the New Israel and she takes as her pattern the cultic sacrificial worship of Ancient Israel. But, her Divine Spouse perfected Ancient Israel’s cultic sacrificial worship because it prefigured His perfect Sacrifice on the Cross, which Jesus left to the Church as his everlasting memorial.

Both forms of cultic worship have their particular norms. But, Ancient Israel’s norms found their perfect fulfillment in what the New Israel has.

People constantly bring up King David’s dance. However, this was not done within the context of the sacrificial cultic worship of Ancient Israel. It was done outside of it. That is a very important distinction that we need to make.

Nope, only in church.

I think a lot of people sway slightly when singing, it’s normal and probably helps them keep the rhythm of the music. I don’t think people need to stand stock still.

The problem with swaying a lot would be that it distracts others. If there are any “ethnic” Catholic services in your area, you might try attending one - more vigorous swaying and movement might be the norm.

If you don’t mind a language barrier look for a Ge’ez Rite liturgy (either Ethiopian or Eritrean).

If people are distracted in church by other people swaying, then that is their own fault. Don’t blame it on the person swaying.

And if someone could please explain to me how expressing joy with your body is sacrilegious, I would appreciate it. :rolleyes:

What you’re feeling is simply animal excitement caused by the meter and rhythm of the hymns.

It’s not a manifestation of the Holy Spirit at all.

I’m not inclined to any “Holy Spirit manifesting” stuff, and I think I would probably faint if I ever had the urge to speak in tongues, but this seems a bit definitive. I don’t see why the Holy Spirit might not occasionally manifest itself in such ways - I certainly wouldn’t say that it could never happen.

But even if it were the Holy Spirit, I think the person is still responsible to use the manifestation responsibly. God works with people, he doesn’t force them to do things - Paul tells us that people should refrain from speaking in tongues unless there is an interpreter, so some discretion seems to be called for.

So to me the question would be if it is a manifestation, what is the right thing to do with it?

Thank you for the information. Can you tell me what authority you have to make such a definitive statement?

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