Liturgical Living for Life
I don’t recall how or when exactly I first stumbled onto the idea of “liturgical living.” As a Catholic convert, it was certainly not something we did in my household growing up, and prior to my conversion, I was only vaguely aware of church “seasons” such as Lent and Advent, not to mention the multitude of feast days and solemnities sprinkled throughout the calendar. While my family was at church every time the doors were open (as good Baptists, we attended Sunday morning, evening, and Wednesday nights without fail), the idea of a Domestic Church that mirrored the rhythms of set liturgy throughout the year was completely foreign to me.
Be that as it may, when I finally did learn about liturgical living, I was enchanted. As the mother of three young children, I was overflowing with enthusiasm to make our newfound faith come alive for them. Thanks to social media and the efforts of various and sundry of our Catholic sisters who are far more creatively inclined than I, I suddenly had a wealth of liturgically inspired and kid-friendly crafts, snacks, coloring sheets, and other activities at my fingertips. This newfound lifestyle turned out to be as much (or more) of a blessing for me as for my children. My days, weeks, and months gained a new, more intentional rhythm, and as I learned more and more about various saints and seasons, I came to appreciate more deeply something I knew intellectually but had not yet fully internalized in my heart: that what we do on Sunday must make a difference in the way we live on Monday and throughout the remainder of the week.
Given the fact that many of us get started in liturgical living as a way to introduce various aspects of the Catholic faith to our children, perhaps it’s no surprise that the majority of liturgical living posts online focus on families with young children. The truth is, however, that the phrase “liturgical living” is redundant. All our living should be liturgical, and thus, liturgical living is simply living our regular lives more intentionally and more fully infused with the richness of our Catholic faith. Liturgical living is something we are all called to do, regardless of our vocation or stage of life.
So where to begin? Perhaps the easiest place to start is with the daily Mass readings. The Church has arranged the Scripture readings in such a way that the entirety of the Bible is covered over a three-year period. The readings for each day relate to each other and the liturgical season in which we find ourselves. The best and easiest way to start living liturgically is to take some time each day to reflect on these readings and ponder them in your heart as you go about your daily routine.
If the daily Mass readings are something you’re already doing, consider adding set times throughout the day for various prayers. For example, begin your day with a morning offering as soon as your alarm goes off, pray the Angelus at noon, the Diving Mercy Chaplet at 3, and end your day with an evening Examen and Act of Contrition. Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget!
Once you’ve gotten into a regular rhythm of prayer and Scripture reading, look to the rest of your day. We are embodied souls – that means that everything we engage in, regardless of whether the action is explicitly religious, is imbued with spiritual meaning and opportunity. Are you an attorney? Review those contracts for the love of Our Lord! Are you a full-time homemaker? Clean your kitchen as if Jesus himself were coming to dinner! An administrative assistant? Answer each call with the knowledge that the person on the other end of the phone is a person that Christ himself died to redeem out of a superabundant love. Strive to make a habit of beginning each new task with a simple prayer: “Jesus, I do ____ for love of you.”
Needless to say, authentic liturgical living is often easier said than done. There are many times my insidious will raises its ugly head with a petulant “but I don’t WANT to!” when faced with a particular task or difficult season of life. For inspiration and encouragement in such times, there’s no better place to look than to the lives of the saints. Each month, pick a saint or two whose feast day falls in that month and resolve to learn more about them. The possibilities are endless: read their biographies or spiritual writings, find a novena, volunteer for a cause near and dear to that particular saint’s heart, or try a new recipe or cocktail from that saint’s region. As you spend time getting to know these holy men and women, pray for their help and guidance on your own path to sainthood. After all, that’s what liturgical living really is all about.