David and Mercedes Rizzo discuss the power of music as prayer.
Everyone has a song that they rely on for comfort, a song that is like a prayer, one in which its words are calming and soothing. For some this song might be "Let It Be" by the Beatles, with that famous line:
When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
We were surprised to learn that our 22-year-old daughter Danielle has a song. Actually, she has several songs that help her instantly and calm her down when she is feeling sad, anxious, or not well. We were surprised to learn this because our daughter has autism. Since she is nonverbal, we didn’t know these songs mattered to her so much. Then by accident we discovered that the song "Holy Is His Name" by John Michael Talbott is Danielle’s go-to song.
She has headaches that are painful and often bring her to tears, usually as she is trying to fall asleep. Of course, we try many things to help her and calm her but we have learned that simply playing that song helps her to quickly calm down and focus on the song rather than the discomfort that she is feeling. There are others songs that follow on the playlist that she responds to as well. They include: "Here I Am Lord," "Be Not Afraid," "One Bread, One Body," and "On Eagle's Wings."
We don’t know why "Holy Is His Name" is so helpful for Danielle, except that it is a song based on the Magnificat of Mary, which she sang when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, after the angel visited Mary to announce that she would give birth to Jesus.
Danielle attends Mass regularly and we often point out the statue of Mary. She must make the connection that when she hears these songs about Mary and Jesus, she will be given some relief from her discomfort.
When Danielle was younger it was not an easy task to have her attend Mass or to prepare her for her sacraments. It took quite a long time and a lot of creativity to teach her and for her to develop an understanding and appreciation of the faith. It has been well worth it, though.
We are happy to know that Danielle enjoys sacred music. What is your song that you rely on? Play it today.
Copyright 2021 David and Mercedes Rizzo
Images (from top): Canva Pro; all others copyright 2021 David and Mercedes Rizzo
About the Author
David and Mercedes write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. Visit DavidAndMercedesRizzo.com to learn more. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Authors of Praying For Your Special Needs Child, (Word Among Us Press) and Spiritually Able and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (Loyola Press).