How to Start Living Liturgically
Updated: Jul 11, 2020
Liturgical living during Quarantine has been absolutely delightful, I'm home for the summer and that can make it a lot easier to organize things. It feels like I have all the time in the world to sit down and meal plan, order groceries, invite friends over, and intentionally pray! This may be a really good time for you to begin too while life is a little slower. Despite my tendency to want to lounge for hours on end and watch my program, I have actually been able to motivate myself to organize all the liturgical living that we do without all the extra hustle and bustle. Starting off we had a lot of traditions to work with which was great, the Aquila family had already established so much and we were tremendously grateful to have that gift. I also had ideas of what I wanted our family to be in the routine of doing and so we were very committed to establishing two things for ourselves; tradition and prayer. However, I know that this can also be a very overwhelming endeavor especially if you are trying to get started because there is just so much information out there.
Create Long Lasting Traditions
Many associate liturgical living with catechetical crafts or activities to do on a saint's feast day, even I have resource lists filled with them. These adorable, catchy, and fun ideas are perfect for littles and young children learning about our faith, but I also like to remind people of something that I believe is absolutely key! Traditions are based on things that we value or believe to be supremely good so we hope to repeat them and pass it down for generations. They embrace the entire family or community in that shared value and elevate all of our hearts to God. These are things that your small children play a part in, your teenagers look forward to, and your adult children come back home for. To create something that withstands the test of time, think about what will bring joy and togetherness for your family and friends, then add in the cute and fun stuff.
I Bet Your're Doing it Already!
You're probably already living liturgically if you put up a Christmas tree, dye Easter eggs, or send a Valentine's day cards! See, I knew it! All we have to do now is create a deeper awareness of festivity and prayer (just like with Christmas and Easter) throughout our daily life. When I made this shift in mentality I couldn't help but ask myself, why am I only living the joy of these feast days three times a year? The Church wants us to experience the brilliance of our faith all the time! Life can become so routine, ordinary, and boring without bringing it to life with our love for God and holy people.
"...feasts reach them all. The Church's teaching affects the mind primarily; her feasts affect both mind and heart and have a salutary effect upon man's whole nature." -Pope Piux XI
Where Do I Start?
To organize ALL THE THINGS I started by looking at a few foundational pieces that I think would be good to consider when trying to take the first steps. You can make this your own and personalize it to fit your family! Remember, this is not a list of things to do entirely, but a place to get your thoughts going.
Things to Consider
1. Your Sacramental Life/ Mass and Confession- All liturgical living is an extension of the graces we receive from the sacraments. Start by considering your own mass and confession attendance! *During quarantine time, if you don't feel comfortable going to mass pray the liturgy of the hours at home and make a spiritual communion.*
2. Holy Days of Obligation- This is an easy place to start, the days that are so important to our faith that the Church says we must attend and be together to celebrate so mark your calendar for maybe an extra day of mass in the week. For a list of these dates check out this link from the USCCB.
3. Special Birthdays or Name Days- See what feast day is celebrated on birthdays or try to connect a saint name with the members of your family. There isn't a St. Steffani *yet ;) but there is a St. Stephen which is the male derivative of my name so we celebrate that. Since our last name is the name of a saint, Aquila, we decided to celebrate Aquilamas every year with family and friends.
4. Previously Established Family Traditions- If you grew up with a family that had even one or two traditions that you enjoyed, keep that and bring it into your own family life. I didn't grow up in a Catholic household but we had a few traditions that I loved so I have kept those and "baptized" them by adding in more Catholic elements.
5. Your Family's Culture- Many cultures have a wealth of Catholic history and tradition that I absolutely love tapping into. See what the locals do on a specific feast day that is dear to you.
6. Devotions- If you have a love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Rosary, or the Divine Mercy, just to name a few, begin celebrating feast days dedicated to those things or their visionaries.
7. Put Up a Calendar- I sit down every month and plan for the month to come. I open the USCCB calendar and I write every feast day that we want to celebrate in my planner, otherwise it is not going to happen! Then, if we don't already have a tradition for that day, I go online and I browse traditions that I think fit my family and we give them a try. If we like it then we keep it for the next year and if we didn't then we try something new. I kept a journal going of all the things we did so that I could remember for the following year.
8. Create a Home Altar- Designate a space in your home for prayer, you can check out my other blog post for details!
9. Sacrament Anniversaries- Celebrate a Baptism anniversary by relighting the Baptismal Candle, or a First Communion anniversary by baking bread together, or a Confirmation anniversary by using the gifts of the Holy Spirit to share your faith! These are just some ideas but you get the point. Sacramental anniversaries help us to remember and more deeply devote ourselves to the graces we received on that day.
10. Meatless Fridays- Yes, it's still a thing! It actually still remains a universal law in the Latin Church and despite misconception, it was never abolished. Try to begin meatless Fridays with your family by offering up this small luxury as a penitential act. In order to more fully enjoy the feast we must also accept the fast.
My Go To Ideas
1. Food- Something to eat.
2. Prayer- Something to thank God for.
3. Activity- Something for everyone to do together.
Things to Remember
You can start this anytime you want, it doesn't have to be at any certain time and you can add things in little by little. For a while we started small just with the traditions that were mostly already established from our own parents. Then the next year we added a few more and we also took some away which is perfectly fine! We realized that there were some things that we wanted to keep going forward with and things that we just knew wouldn't really last. In order for a tradition to be such it has to be seen as valuable and you're not a bad Catholic if you don't celebrate everything. If any of it has to be done it would be mass, confession, and holy days of obligation. The point of liturgical living is not to stress you out or create a longer to do list, but to bring a sense of festivity into your home life. I think we all need this, life can become so overwhelming, how sad if we never find a time or place to come alive. Our faith calls us to live our faith joyfully, so go for it!
If you need ideas, resources, or updates then please stick around! You can find lots of help right here or on my Facebook @HisGirlSunday.
See You in the Eucharist!