Living life in rhythm



Rhythm is one of the building blocks of music. Much music is made of patterns of rhythms, often repeated; pulsing, giving movement and life; providing cohesion; and inviting us to join in with a foot tapping, hands clapping and bodies moving. Rhythm draws us in and invites us deeper into the life and enjoyment of music. The same can be said of a life lived in rhythm with the Catholic Church, and what a groove the Church sets!

From looking at an entire year and the liturgical seasons that give focus to our months, to the patterns of our 24-hour days, the Church’s groove invites us to order our lives in sync with the universal Church, which draws us ever closer to the Lord. Humans thrive with rhythms and patterns, and the Church is rich with opportunities to move along to the beat on their journey to heaven.

The pope dedicates each year as a whole to something specific. This year is the year of St. Joseph; we can learn so much from him as we pay more attention to his life this year. A liturgical year includes Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, the Triduum, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. Each of these seasons has a different feel and purpose, and we journey through these different times every year in the same pattern.

Each day of the year, a Saint is celebrated (though Sundays and major feasts trump their celebration); some are more well-known than others. We have holy days of obligation throughout the year to signify solemnities so important that the Church says that attending Mass is required. Each month is dedicated to an aspect of our faith: January, the Holy Name and Childhood of Jesus; February, the Holy Family; March, St. Joseph; April, the Blessed Sacrament; May, Mary; June, the Sacred Heart of Jesus; July, the Precious Blood; August, Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Blessed Sacrament; September, Seven Sorrows of Mary; October, the Holy Rosary; November, poor souls in purgatory; and December, the Immaculate Conception.

Each day of the week also has a dedication to help us have a spiritual focus for the day: Sunday, the resurrection and Holy and Undivided Trinity; Monday, Holy Spirit and Souls in Purgatory; Tuesday, Holy Angels; Wednesday, St. Joseph; Thursday, Blessed Sacrament; Friday, Christ’s Passion and his Sacred Heart; Saturday, Blessed Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Heart.

We even pray certain mysteries of rosary on specific days of the week to go deeper into the beautiful rhythm of the church: the Glorious mysteries are traditionally prayed on Sunday and Wednesday, the Joyful on Monday and Saturday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, and the Luminous on Thursday.

Even a 24-hour day can have a rhythm and pattern that is valuable and draws the body, mind and heart toward God. This is especially seen in religious communities, but it is definitely possible for the laity as well. The most common way to pray with the Universal Church is to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (also called Divine Office), specifically prayed at certain times of day on purpose to make our relationship with the Lord a priority. The Angelus (or Regina Caeli during the Easter season) is usually prayed at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. Three o’clock in the afternoon is the hour of Divine Mercy.

This column is definitely not complete in sharing the many ways the Church guides her people and draws them closer to Christ. These ideas are not meant to be daunting or to provide pressure to begin all of these devotions but simply to share ideas and ways that a daily schedule and rhythm can be helpful on the complicated journey of life, especially with so many other things vying for our attention. May we encourage one another to strive every day to draw close to the risen Lord.