This is my blog’s 200th post!
To celebrate this special occasion, I want to explore the theme of many of my blog posts: Living a Liturgical Life.
Under the Old Law in the Old Testament, God’s people observed annual ceremonies commemorating important events in salvation history which prefigured the completion of the Old Law through Christ. Similarly, Holy Church commemorates important mysteries, events, and persons, using an annual cycle of prayers, Scriptures, hymns, and various spiritual disciplines. In the same way, each of the 12 months has a unique focus, and each day of the week has a unique focus as well. Even in the day, the hours of the day are divided up into the canonical hours. In so doing, all time is, in a manner of speaking, consecrated to God since He alone created all time and redeemed all of time (Matthew Plese, Living a Liturgical Life).
Time is dedicated to God through the liturgical cycles and traditions of the Catholic Church.
This is realized in the:
- Hours of the day
- Days of the week
- Months of the year
- Seasons of the year
Unlike the pagan religions which often view time as an endless cycle of death and rebirth, the Christian view of time is linear. While God alone has always existed and has no beginning, time had a beginning. There was a first day on earth. And there will be a last day. There will be a day ultimately when the sun will rise for the last time and when it will set for the last time. Time will end. And God Himself will end it as time belongs to Him. It is our duty to honor God in time. […]
A “linear spiral” has also been used to describe the Christian concept of time. While still retaining the elements of linearity to oppose pagan error, this image conveys how Divine Providence makes use of typology to instruct man and bestow grace. For example, all of the Old Testament prefigures Christ and – since His Passion, Death, and Resurrection – the Church Herself now lives out the mysteries of the life of Christ across the ages. This spiral image also conveys how the origin of all time is God and the end goal of all time is likewise to return to God at the Final Judgment (Matthew Plese, Living a Liturgical Life).
The most important reason for living a liturgical life is because time belongs to God, and man was created to love and serve Him.
Another reason is because doing so adds depth to one’s experience of life.
Many times, one day blurs right into the next and feels like nothing has changed.
However, when one leads a liturgical life, each day is tangibly different.
It also helps one live with greater intention and purpose.
It’s less likely for someone to get caught up in the busyness and frivolity of the world because they pause and focus on God throughout the day.
It helps one grow spiritually and draw closer to the Lord — every soul’s one and last End.
Structuring my life around Catholic liturgy and tradition has become a significant part of who I am.
My blog has greatly contributed to this. Blogging might even be how I started incorporating it into my life!
I’m always focused on the liturgical season, including feasts of the saints and traditional devotions.
For example, I specifically chose October 15th for the 200th post.
Today is the Memorial of Saint Teresa of Ávila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.
My patron saint is St. Thérèse of Lisieux. St. Teresa of Ávila is considered the first “Teresa” and she inspired many women who later became saints themselves, including St. Thérèse!
In this section, I’ll share examples of how one can live a liturgical life.
There are countless ways to do this.
It will depend on the person’s vocation, state in life, individual spirituality, means, what God calls them to etc.
Every Catholic is obliged to follow the teachings of the Church — the Ten Commandments, Six Precepts etc. — but every Catholic isn’t obliged to practice the same devotions or traditions.
There isn’t a right way or a wrong way. These are simply my suggestions.
If a person can choose only one way to focus their life around the Church, attending daily Mass is the best choice.
There is no better way to enter into the liturgy and draw near to God than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Mass is the greatest act of Catholic worship. (The truth, not my opinion!)
If you’re able to do so, I strongly encourage you to attend Mass every day during the week, or as often as possible.
If you aren’t able to attend in person on weekdays, I strongly encourage you to participate in Mass virtually on weekdays and/or follow the readings each day.
One of the blessings of this past year is Mass has become widely available to those who can’t attend in person.
Many parishes now have a YouTube channel and live stream Mass, which can also be viewed later as a recording.
For those in the United States, the daily readings are available on the USCCB website as text or an audio recording. You can even sign up to receive a daily email with the readings.
There are also numerous mobile apps and ways to access the liturgy.
If you wish, you can buy a Roman Missal which contains the readings for the entire year and much more.
Note: Catholics should always attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Mass during the week is in addition to Sundays and Holy Days, not in place of them
- Pray the Angelus at 6am, 12pm and 6pm, or at least once per day
- Pray and meditate on the Mysteries of the Rosary that correspond to the liturgical season. For example, Sorrowful Mysteries during Lent and Glorious Mysteries during Easter
- Pray a novena leading up to feasts. For example, novena for the souls in Purgatory ending on All Souls Day, November 2nd
- Sing a hymn on feasts. For example, Immaculate Mary on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th. Or any Marian hymn on Saturdays
- Set an alarm for 3pm each day and reflect on the Lord’s Passion and Death for a few minutes, or longer if you can
- Cook a meal related to the feast. For example, pizza on the feast day of an Italian saint, special dessert on solemnities etc.
- Do something special on the feast day of your patron saint. For example, someone named “Andrew” celebrating the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, November 30th. You could go out to eat, make a dessert or do something else you enjoy. If your name isn’t related to a saint, choose a patron!
- Learn about the Saint of the Day and pray to them. On a saint’s feast day, God gives many graces to those who ask for the saint’s intercession
- Light a candle at church or home on Wednesdays in honor of St. Joseph. Or any day for a special intention
- Fast or perform a sacrifice on Fridays in honor of the Lord’s Passion
- Set up a small shrine in your home where you can pray and focus on God. Put sacramentals there that have meaning to you. For example, Rosary beads, icon, statue, prayer card, crucifix, blessed candle etc. I recommend making the shrine the focal point and place where your family gathers, rather than around the TV
- Use a kitchen tablecloth that represents the color of the liturgical season. For example, violet during Advent, white/gold during Christmas and Easter, green during Ordinary Time
- Use china or nice place settings when eating a meal on solemnities and major feasts
- Wear clothing to Mass that represents the color of the liturgical season. For example, white during Christmas and Easter. Women can also do this with a chapel veil
- Make the background of your phone and computer a religious image. For example, image of the Holy Family during Christmas, the Sacred Heart in June, the Assumption in August etc.
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I pray that my blog is encouraging you to live your faith and become a saint.
Remember, we’re on this journey together.
As difficult and painful as life feels sometimes, we have a God who is Love and desires our highest good.
He wants us to experience true and everlasting joy — which can only be found through Him, with Him, and in Him.
+ Photos from Centre International Marie de Nazareth, Israel. Photos from a friend