Liturgical Living for Married Couples
Our Family Values and Goals
When my husband and I got engaged we sat down several times to talk about what we thought would be most important to have in our marriage. We wanted to have a common goals and values that would give our marriage purpose and really learn about what the other envisioned for our future family. These hopeful conversations not only gave us something to look forward to in marriage, but something to begin developing during engagement. These are the things that we found to be most important, apart from our own love and affections for one another, and in no particular order...
In short, we valued celebrating our faith and being surrounded by people we love and care about. The topic of traditions came up a lot, there's a quality of comfort and connectedness that comes with them that we both value. When you celebrate something it's because see and affirm the good in the world or in your life as a gift from God. You immortalize that good by repeating the festivity, or tradition, because it is still meaningful and relevant! Josef Pieper states that, "a festival becomes true festivity only when it affirms the goodness of his existence by offering the response of joy." (In Tune with the World, 29). For us, our new life together as a family, and all that may come our way, is a gift from God. Our faith is a gift from God. Our existence is a gift from God. Our ordinary life is a gift from God. All of that is worth celebrating, and what a boring life to only work day by day, without any joy.
Secular Calendar Meet Liturgical Calendar!
It's no wonder we are itching for entertainment and excitement! The work week is so draining by the time we actually get home we use that little time to make dinner, accomplish the few tasks we may have to do, and muster up enough energy to crash on the couch and watch a couple episodes of our favorite show. I also know that we are not alone in that but as a true questioner I've asked myself many times, why am I allowing this secular routine to be imposed upon me? Other than the fact that we do like to get paid and eat, it echoed in my heart that that is not living. I'm going to take a popular phrase from Blessed Fulton Sheen and say that "life is worth living", and not just on the weekends! We found that by reprioritizing the secular calendar with the liturgical calendar our lives became more celebratory. We look forward to coming home from work to celebrate a feast day, to make a special dessert, or do some fun activity/ Catholic date night. Having those days peppered into our routine brought us into a closer relationship with each other, our family, friends, and ultimately with God. In short, it helped us to live out our family values!
Catholic Liturgical Calendar
One Doesn't Simply Outgrow Liturgical Living
I started by doing what anyone else would do, I sat down and Googled it. I'm just going to be up front here, there was not a lot to work with and here is why. Liturgical living as a Catholic or even Christian cultural practice has been completely thrown to the wayside by modernism and most liturgical living resources have been tailored to younger school aged children. Even as a high school Theology teacher I sought out resources for teens to adapt and integrate into my classroom and couldn't find much. I've said this before and I'm going to reiterate my belief that liturgical living is for everyone, because the rich tradition of the Catholic faith is for everyone, even for us as adults. We don't just outgrow celebrating and living our faith, that is exactly what the Gospel message proclaims for us to do. I don't care if you are single, engaged, newlyweds, married with young children, married with grown children, or empty nesters, your life and relationships will be enriched by doing this. By rekindling this we just might be able to get our Catholic culture back but it first begins at home!
Corpus Christi Procession
Practical Tips & Tricks
I started by thinking about what we each enjoy doing, as people, and as a couple. Then I reached into the wealth of family traditions that we have as well as cultural traditions. I took all of those ideas and organized them into three simple categories for celebrating a feast day.
Activities- Date nights, friend gatherings, games, movies, etc.
Organizing makes my heart sing so I really enjoyed the next part! I took to making a calendar by sitting down and writing all of the feast days for that month that we wanted to celebrate. We looked at saints that meant a lot to us, solemnities, holy days of obligation, and other major feasts. Once I put those in the planner I then went back to look at traditions and asked myself these questions.
First, does my family already have a tradition for this feast day that we want to continue?
If not, what is the culture of this saint?
Are there any specific traditions that the region used to do or still does?
How can I recreate that at home?
Is there a recipe, prayer, beverage, or activity that we could do?
Remember, for activities/date nights lean on what you both already enjoy doing. If you like watching movies together, see if there is one about the saint. If you both enjoy cooking together, find a recipe true to the culture or region of that feast day. If you like hosting, have friends over and play a game, make a drink, or have pot luck in honor of that saint.
Here are a few examples of things we do to get you started.
St. Benedict of Nursia- July 11- We do a home brew, I gave my husband a kit many years ago and we both love craft beer. (Activity & Drinks)
Sts. Aquila & Priscilla- July 8- For our family name day we started Aquilamas, a day where we have family and friends gather around to pray and eat. Celebrate your name days! (Activity & Prayer)
Ember Days- Dates Vary- Fasting and abstinence as a couple in thanksgiving for the harvests. (Prayer)
Solemnity of the Ascension- May 24- I made homemade whip cream and strawberry shortcake for our family picnic. (Food)
Start imagining what this will look like for your own family, start by making small efforts. The sacraments are the first place to start, attending weekly mass (in person or virtually for now), and getting a routine for going to confession. Then with those graces find ways to fill your home with the joys of the sacraments.