By Brea Cannon
Connecting Faith and Life
Snap, snap, snap - the smells of fresh air and garden dirt, and the taste of instant iced tea. All of these combined bring back one of my fondest memories from childhood; sitting on my grandparents’ porch snapping beans with my grandma.
My grandparents have always had a garden and for as long as I can remember, they have pressure canned produce. My mother is the same, she preserves everything from green beans to pie fillings.
It’s a treasure to have been given the knowledge of a craft that feeds and nourishes loved ones. This past summer as I canned much of my garden, I spent time praying for the generations of women in my family who cared for their families and passed on the craft of home canning.
This winter as I have opened jar after jar of homemade soups, applesauce, tomatoes, green beans, and assorted jams from the summer, I have thought and prayed about what it is my children will be gifted in the form of knowledge or craft. There have been many things that have come to my mind like gardening and canning, but one sticks out. The liturgy – specifically living liturgically.
The liturgy is a work of divine worship that is unceasingly offered to God by the Holy Mother Church. It is in the most supreme form in the sacrifice of the most holy Mass. In addition to our opportunities for Mass, the liturgy should be a rhythm of our individual day-to-day lives. The liturgy of the hours or pausing to pray the Angelus at noon are other ways to pray and live the liturgy daily. The liturgy allows us to daily live our primary duty of worshipping God in a way that unites us to heaven.
I have a book written by Maria von Trapp that was originally published in 1955 - yes, the real-life woman we all fell in love with from the movie, “The Sound of Music.” In her book, “Around the Year with the von Trapp Family,” Maria explains how she incorporated dancing, baking, singing (of course) and parties into the daily flow of her family life. She saw living the liturgy as such, “Holy Mother Church teaches her children how to celebrate. In it, one learns how to turn family days such as birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, weddings, and even funerals into feasts celebrated in the Lord.”
In addition to prayer, living liturgically can focus life around the saints and the sacraments. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at dinner on a specific saint's feast day, reading about the saints’ life, and praying through his or her intercession. One could even celebrate a baptismal anniversary. It’s a reminder that in baptism one becomes a member of the mystical Body of Christ. That is certainly something to celebrate! Go ahead, have that donut at breakfast and cake for dessert.
For baptismal anniversaries in our home, it’s simple but beautiful: we have a special dessert, light a baptismal candle (you can buy one, if necessary), and then my husband gives a special blessing to whoever’s baptism it is. There are many liturgical calendars available; I add our baptisms and other special days to my calendar so I don’t forget.
We also remember the penitential parts of the liturgical calendar are a form of worship and celebration too. Fasting and penance are beautiful ways to unite ourselves to Christ through the liturgy. During Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Passiontide to Holy Week, with the ultimate joys of Easter, the Church gives us special opportunities outside of the Mass to be a part of divine worship in our communities and our homes. This Lent, follow the Holy Mother Church as a guide for living the liturgy.
I do plan to pass gardening and pressure canning knowledge on to my children, but I also long for elements of liturgical living will be passed on too. My hope is that they see the beauty of the liturgy and in turn, thank God for Holy Mother Church and the model she has laid out for daily worship and celebration. May we all fall deeper in love with Jesus through rich traditions that are being passed on in our Catholic faith through living liturgically.