Liturgical living. Its something I have been thinking about starting for a while, but I have never quite known where to start. As I pause to ponder liturgical living in our small family, I realise its something we have already begun; the Advent wreath on the kitchen table, lit every night, shoes outside the bedroom door on the 6th December for the feast of St Nicholas, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, celebrating name days… These are things that we learned from our parents. They may not have called it liturgical living- these things were simply family traditions.
Today, Christianity is counter-cultural. Against the backdrop of today’s post-Christian culture, liturgical living is an important witness to our children, families and community.
This weekend, a new liturgical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. I plan to begin anew, being intentional about liturgical living. While websites, blog posts and Pinterest boards are full of inspiring ideas, they can be a little overwhelming to a newbie like me. Here are 7 simple ideas for liturgical living for beginners, to get the liturgical living ball rolling!
- Mark your feast days on your calendar
- Here in Ireland, the Dominicans produce a fantastic free calandar, with all feast days etc. printed on. Pick a calander up from your parish, and hang it where you will look at it every day!
- Use the Universalis app, or add Universalis to you Google Calander (that’s what I did, its easy! Click the link at the bottom of the page)
- Choose a few feast days to celebrate each month
- We began with our own name days, and pick a few of our favourite saints too. I also wish a happy name day to friends and family members, and use the occasion to send them a text, email or card.
- Do you have a family patron saint? What about your parish patron saint? Celebrate them too!
- Choose a novena to pray every month or so. Pray More Novenas offer a great, free, service, delivering the novena prayer to your inbox every day.
- Create an altar, or prayer focus
- Don’t put it off, waiting to create the perfect space. Rather than wait, I put a statue of Mary, a few candles. a picture of St Therese and the bible on our mantelpiece- its a perfect prayer focus, and focal point for the room.
- Keep holy the Sabbath Day
- Growing up, shops were closed on Sunday, there was no vigil Mass in my parish and Sunday was a day for worship, Sunday lunch, family outings and activities together. After I left home, things began to slip and, until recently, Sunday was a day for chores, shopping and finishing off work. We recently re-evaluated how we spend out Sundays, and have decided to be more intentional; to make Mass the focal point of the day, to cook something special, to avoid chores and shopping and to spend time together as a family.
- I already mentioned how Pinterest can be overwhelming! Don’t be put off! Start your own Pinterest boards for each month (I find searching by month narrows the search, making it less overwhelming and more relevant!)
- Pick a few recipes, craft activities or colouring pages to do each month
- Don’t just go to Mass on Sunday…
- How about making a regular weekday Mass, on your own or as a family? First Friday, Saturday morning, or a weekday Mass? Perhaps your parish has a weekday evening Mass you could attend together.
- Pick a Saturday of the month e.g. 1st Saturday, to go to confession together. Mark it on your calendar- create an event if you have to! Celebrate your absolution by going for hot chocolate together afterwards!
- Make sure you observe Holy Days of Obligation. There are slight variations depending which country you live in. In Ireland, there are 6 Holy Days of Obligation:
- Immaculate Conception (8th December)
- Christmas Day (25th December)
- Epiphany (6th January )
- St Patrick (17th March)
- Assumption of Our Lady (15th August)
- All Saints (1st November)
- Read a book related to the liturgical season. As I write, we are coming to the end of November, and I have been reading Holy Women by Pope Benedict XVI, and learning about some amazing female saints. Hopefully I will be able to share some of this stories with my daughter when she is older
- Read the autobiography or biography of a saint who has an upcoming feast day
- Buy a book for Advent or Lent. Magnificat Magazine publish excellent Advent and Lent companions
- Don’t keep your bible tucked away! Leave it somewhere you see it, so you will pick it up more often
What tips do you have for liturgical living? I would love to hear your ideas and inspiration!
Thank you Kelly for hosting 7 Quick Takes! Head on over to This Aint the Lyceum for more quick takes