The Mass is an act of sacrifice that, as the Roman Canon reminds us, circles all the way back to the prefiguring sacrifices of Abel, Abraham, and Melchisedech. Within the Christian tradition itself, the Rite of the Church of Rome is among the most ancient. John Chrysostom.
Within the Western tradition, there is no loftier expression of the divine mysteries, no more nourishing access to them. The hard work it takes to enter into this liturgy is repaid a thousandfold in the never-depleted insights and consolations it affords. For this reason, the work of teaching another how to enter into it is a genuine spiritual work of mercy. All of this presupposes the importance of entering into the liturgy. As Dom Gueranger and the original liturgical movement emphasized, we need to get to know and love the prayer of Holy Mother Church, and doing so requires an effort to become well acquainted with it.
I have some recommendations along these lines, but many readers will have excellent ideas, too — and I hope they will share them in the comments below. Today I will take up the former, and next time, the latter. Remote preparation includes anything the parents do at home to fill the imagination of their children with Catholic symbols, saints, stories, and associations, anything they do to form the mind with doctrine and to form the heart with prayer.
- On A Chinese Screen (Vintage Classics).
- The Making of Theodore Roosevelt?
- Mercury Rises (Mercury Series Book 2).
- Celebrate All Twelve Days of Christmas.
- Rejoice, Ye Pure In Heart.
- Iod - Score.
These sorts of things till and fertilize the soil of the soul, so that the seed of the liturgy can be planted and bear fruit. Children who are immersed in good books and develop a habit of enjoying the world of the imagination will not only be better prepared for their school studies but, more importantly, will find the liturgy easier to enter into.
The family culture should be deliberately related in some way to the liturgy. To learn more, see my review at NLM. For the benefit of older children, I would also recommend occasionally listening with the whole family to a talk by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. There are so many available. For families that homeschool, it is crucial that there be some study of Latin, even if it be as simple as studying the prayers of the Ordinary of the Mass, so that an opportunity is created to think and talk about what they are saying.
I have found it to be the case that the traditional Mass prays perfectly for or about everything we could ever need to pray for or about , and does so in the most beautiful, humble, and fitting manner. It is the supreme school of prayer. To capitalize on the natural love children have for singing and to foster an instinct for sacredness and Romanitas , it is so important to sing Catholic songs at home, especially simpler Gregorian chants.
In addition to singing, or in lieu of it if you are afraid to sing yourself, make sure you have some good sacred music recordings of chant, polyphony, and traditional hymnody. Of the superabundance of fine recordings out there, let me just mention a few.
My favorite disc of hymns is A Vaughan Williams Hymnal. He writes regularly for Catholic blogs and has published seven books, the most recent being Tradition and Sanity Angelico, For more information, visit www. Peter Kwasniewski. But if you read it while pregnant you should know that you will probably cry a lot. But the thing that really struck a cord with me was the way they lived their faith. It was the rhythm of their everyday lives. The liturgical seasons told them what they should eat and wear and what chores to do.
They set contracts and meetings based on feast days. They shared their celebrations with their whole community and had an understanding of true charity and love of neighbor. The seasons of fasting were painful but the feasts were filled with plenty and great joy. I finally understood what living liturgically looked like.
And I wanted it. But, not living in a medieval Norwegian village where everyone was living the liturgical year meant I still had to figure out how to do it myself. For me the main shift was a mental one. Just being aware that there is a liturgical year was an important step. Then, I tried to align major household tasks that repeat every year with a particular liturgical season. There is an amazing description of a MUCH more thorough version of Lent cleaning than what I do in Around the Year with the Trapp Family , a great, but also intimidating, out of print, but possible to find book.
I made an effort to be mindful of the feast days in a particular week when I was meal planning.
Celebrating Advent as a Family
We eat pretty internationally anyway. I also stopped serving desserts on non-feast days. Every Sunday is a feast day, so we have a dessert every Sunday, plus on days that we celebrate a feast. Treats really make things memorable for my kids. We also worked on our library. Bernadette has been easier to sustain long term.
We also celebrate baptism days and birthdays, for more on that see here. Then we added another saint here and there to which we had a particular devotion. Then I decided we should make a point of aknowledging every solemnity. And now, we end up celebrating a feast multiple times per month, and occasionally multiple times in a week!
Baby Steps to Living the Liturgical Year as a Family
I do NOT, however, attempt to celebrate every single feast. Just more now than we used to.
We also observe the fasts and the seasons of preparation of the church, even our little kids. During Advent and Lent we eat more simply. I try to use those seasons to clean out all that food in the back of the freezer and the pantry. We eat a lot of soups. As much as we are able without being rude, we decline to celebrate Christmas and Easter before their time. So we mostly wait on Christmas treats and Christmas decorations we have seperate decorations for Advent, and Lent as well and Christmas shows until Christmas has actually arrived. That way, those seasons of preparation FEEL really different than the seasons of celebration that come after them.
We really have that feeling of anticipation. We also make a point of sharing our fasts with others , so the kids really do enjoy those as well. Living the liturgical year has certainly borne fruit for our family. It features the all the feasts and fasts of the Universal Calendar and then some, illustrated with images featuring the traditional Catholic monthly devotions.
You can keep track of the feasts and fasts and seasons of the Catholic year, and be reminded to focus your prayer on a different aspect of our faith each month.
As the Church year begins with December, so does this calendar. You get December through December , thirteen months. Available for purchase here. This is great, Kendra. This is such wonderful advice and such a good reminder that changing your whole lifestyle especially for those of us raised Protestant!
It's funny that my own foray into liturgical living followed pretty much your same path, although I started with Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler and was mildly successful so I got cocky and graduated myself to The Year and Our Children and quickly became so overwhelmed at my own insufficiency that I wanted to give up. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps…….. Also we try to back our way into Christmas via Sundays in Advent, spending each one procuring, then lighting, then decking, and then finally hanging ornaments on the tree.
It's not teeeeechnically liturgically legit, but it's been a good compromise for our family between Dave's desire to wait until December 25th to bust out the strings of lights and my burning desire starting around Halloween to deck all the halls. I've been spending a lot of my free time reading through your writings and I can't thank you enough for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and the way you've tackled trying to live a Liturgical Life in the modern world. I've been passing along a number of your pieces on Breaking Bad and Flannery O'Connor to a friend of mine, but I specifically like your take on the living and raising families Catholic.
Love this. I wanted to start this too with my family, and started with the first book you mentioned — and instantly felt overwhelmed! I'm so glad to have read this, via share from Carrots. I am such a fan of the Von Trapp and Newland books, but thanks so much for suggesting the extra resources.
I tend to take a "feast or famine" pardon the terrible pun approach to our observations of the Liturgical Year. One week, I'll be really gung ho about doing something special each day, and then the next week I forget or become overwhelmed, and we miss the chance to celebrate some of the most important feast days.
I really needed to hear your "baby steps" advice. I should just pick one or two important days each month to start with, and slowly build from there over the years! You nailed it, Kendra. I would have never heard of Kristin Lavransdatter if not for Catholic bloggers, and I'm itching to get my hands on a copy.
- What Catholics need to know about making their homes a domestic church.
- Start Your Own Office and Administrative Support Service: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Success (StartUp Series)!
- Live Your Passion.
- Beyond Consensus: Improving Collaborative Planning and Management (MIT Press)?
But I had an identical experience as an adolescent reading Catherine, Called Birdy. I made note of it when I started doing it, but that book is the reason I list the feast days at the top of each post now!