Why does Music have such an effect on us? Where does it come from?
In the beginning, there was rhythm. In our mother’s womb we hear the beating of her heart and the rhythm of her breath. We feel the stillness and movement and the sleeping and waking of her days. We are born into the world by the rhythm of contractions. She waits, they come, she pushes. Repeat and you’re a little closer to trading one home for another and a birthdate that will forever be your milestone. And entering the world we embrace the heritage of all living things: we breathe in, out, in, out. Our breath connects us to all living things.
Our relationship with others begins with the rhythms of hunger and feeding, suffering and peace, sleeping and waking. The Sun rises, the day passes, night comes. Repeat.
Our flowering is marked by the passage of days. And when we learn to crawl and to walk, we learn anew the ways of rhythm, of marking the passage from here to there. Young, the rhythm of our lives is quick. Our hearts beat faster, we grow faster, we heal faster… and our impatience turns minutes into hours. As we grow older we learn that the rhythm of consistent effort bears great fruit over the long journey. And, learning the sustained tempo of patience, we know in our bones that “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
The Roman Catholic liturgical cycle (Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter, Ordinary Time, repeat) gears into the rhythms of earthly life to sustain our spiritual journey. The lifeblood from the living heart of God, eternity itself, courses through the rhythms of our days.
Music is full of life because it begins with life itself.