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May 02, 2021 372 Dina Mananquil Delfino
Evangelize

Recover Your Lost Rhythm

It goes in through the ear and straight to the heart!

An amazing way to refresh your soul today

My visits as a pastoral care worker, offering prayers through liturgy and music to nursing homes, especially in their high care area, are always fraught with mixed emotions. I am cautioned that these residents could go for hours, or even days without responding.

When I see the participants, frail and beaten by the battles of life, just waiting to go, their eyes, fixed on “nothingness”, there is a part of me that doubts that whatever I have prepared for them will bear much fruit.

Yet I have been proven wrong many times.  As soon as Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, One Day at a Time and other much-loved hymns are heard, heads lift, eyes widen or blink, and tears flow down some cheeks.

Never Forgotten

Once, a frail gentleman, paralysed in a shell chair, grabbed my hand and held it tightly. I shed some of my own tears that day. Another, who had been reticent and hostile, cheerfully belted the song, over and over, in his splendid baritone until he was hushed by some residents who felt annoyed by his “noise” then gave me a blessed wink and thumbs up!

Studies on dementia reveal that music helps people in all stages connect with fond memories, and is proving to be good medicine. Melodies can be remembered long after names, faces and words are forgotten.

We sometimes forget the power of music in awakening that part of the brain— evoking responses, reconnecting with loved ones and improving focus. It increases happiness and decreases fatigue while lifting that haze—the veil that perhaps separates us from what we want to forget and what we want to remember.

The Clay Centre for Young Healthy Minds writes that music is the best studied of art therapy, and helps to lower anxiety, depression, trauma, psychosis and stress. Music helps heal.

Sing for Him

Bishop Brewer’s sermon on Sunday, October 4, 2015 shares some distinct purposes of music in our lives.  He says that music teaches us the Gospel; connects us to God in unique ways; allows us to express our love to God with our whole being; and, if used for worship, fulfills God’s command. He further states that music that honours God will cause our hearts to sing. And when our hearts sing, worship happens. We are transformed on the inside.

I have found this to be true. I belong to a prayer group where praise and worship frames our services when we gather every Friday. For 23 years now, we have shared music together, drawing us into deeper fellowship with God.

Much of my own personal transformation has been facilitated by praise and worship. When I sing to the Lord, the Holy Spirit reveals truths about myself and my need for inner change. I become more aware of my need for God’s grace and shed tears of sorrow for my sins and joy for His victory over sin and death. When I am down and out, music brings me comfort; when I battle with afflictions, it gives me the strength and the faith to carry on; when I am joyful, music inspires me to dance and share my hope with others; when the devil tempts me, praise and worship stop him in his tracks.

The Base of Harmony

If you want to go deeper, read the article written by John Michael Talbot in the Music of God. He says, “God is perfect spiritual music. Many of the world’s major religions say that God created the universe through music. But the music they speak of is no mere earthly song. It is profoundly spiritual and mystical. The mystics say that in the supernatural state you can see sound, and hear color. This was our original mode, and will be again in Eternity. This harmonious music is part of God’s very being.

God is a perfect harmony of transcendent self-sufficiency and self-diffusive goodness and selfless love. This awesome balance and peaceful harmony is perfectly manifested in the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is perfect logic, but beyond the grasp of logic alone.” Another music writer indicates that harmony is ordained by God—the base of harmony is a triad, a threesome of notes that are in perfect unity with one another.

We might not have had much music in 2020, because of COVID 19—many of us have lost our rhythm in life, overcome by uncertainties, our lives torn by discordant notes of loss and doubts.  But we are all encouraged that in year 2021 we should be reclaiming what we have lost and re-discover the hope, trust and faith that God ordained us to be—creation of harmony, peace and joy.

We might have been side-tracked by the corona virus pandemic, but let us be reminded once again of Revelation 5:8-9: “Now when He (Jesus) had taken the scroll, the four living creatures (angelic beings) and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb (Jesus), each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song.”

Let us sing our old songs again, or create new ones as we continue to make music for the Lord, so we can join in the heavenly chorus. If we let go of our discordant false self, driven by noise and fear, and seek God instead, we will hear Him speak to us again in a peaceful melody of trust, glad tidings and gratitude.

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Dina Mananquil Delfino

©Dina Mananquil Delfino is a counsellor, community worker, pre-marriage facilitator and Pastoral Associate of St Michael’s Parish, Berwick. She lives in Pakenham, Victoria with her family.

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