By KAITLIN KLEIN
Each year, I strive to live more liturgically. I want to live the church calendar not only at church, but at home and in my daily life as well. I want the beauty and meaning of the feasts and liturgical celebrations to infuse my home, family, thoughts and actions so that I can better focus on living my entire life for Christ.
The Church gives us an enormous gift simply by having a calendar with different seasons, allowing us to focus on different parts of the spiritual life and keep growing in learning about and living for the Lord. We need the joys of Christmas and Easter, and the preparation of Advent and Lent. We need ordinary time as well, and the church in her wisdom also encourages certain practices on certain days and the celebration of feasts of saints. There’s at least one saint (usually many more) celebrated every single day of the year! I like to say it’s another perk of being Catholic; there’s a reason to celebrate every day.
Most of us already engage in liturgical living, at least for major feasts of the year like Christmas and Easter. We use certain sights, sounds, smells and tastes to focus on the season at hand. We bake and decorate especially to remind ourselves and to more fully engage with what is happening liturgically.
Holy Week, the Triduum, and the Easter season are packed full of ways to bring our Christian faith into our homes. When statues and crucifixes are covered at church, we can cover them in our homes as well. Our decorations can be sparse, less colorful and without flowers. We can refrain from TV, radio and social media during Holy Week, or at least during the hours Jesus is in the tomb. We can add flowers, color, and other beauty that reminds us of the resurrection when Easter arrives in its glory, and we can have dessert every night of the Octave of Easter (or do some other special activities) to keep celebrating. We are supposed to be celebrating spiritually, and these tangible things (just like fasting during Lent) help direct our human nature towards spiritual reality.
The possibilities of liturgical living are endless. Many countries have different traditions for various celebrations and saints, and each family may have certain saints it wants to highlight during the year.
I try to be creative and find ways to help my family focus on living for the Lord by engaging in the church calendar, but there are also resources available to help with ideas. I have used “The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life,” by Kendra Tierny, and “The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living,” by John Zmirak and Denise Matychowiak. I’m sure there are others as well and information online.
Even adding an item here and there throughout the year can be meaningful. During next week’s Octave, you can find me baking and indulging a little more than normal, and I hope you enjoy your celebration, too!