One of my goals for this past year or so has been to increase our liturgical living in our home. This is a concept that can certainly apply to other Christian denominations but is quite particular to Catholics (& I believe Orthodox…?). Essentially there is more to faith, any faith, than the once a week requirements and large holidays. Living out faith daily is important too. One way Catholics do this is through liturgical living: following the Catholic Liturgical calendar of fasts, feasts, solemnities, saints days, etc. It can be exhausting to “go all in” and equally exhausting researching everything to even know where to begin!
How I got Started
I am an academic. Plain and simple. Most of my “religiousness” comes from my head and then filters through my heart. This made liturgical living a fun research project at first that then became something I really wanted to pursue to create a religious rhythm to our life outside church. We are still novices at this, and have stumbled through lots of trying to up our liturgical living but, hey, its something. Better to try and fail than not try at all, right?!
Starting to veil for mass had a lot to do with it all, read HERE for more info!
Basically my adventure started with reading lots of Catholic blogs, most notably Carrots for Michaelmas & Catholic All Year, and then talking to my husband about how we wanted to actually do some of these things in our own homes. He wasn’t resistant but kind of let me explore my Catholic kookiness for a bit while giving his opinion as things unfolded. For example, he totally axed the idea of going meatless every Friday in commemoration of Jesus’ death.
Before I went off the liturgical deep end I decided to have a focus for the year and that focus was food! I mean we cook every week anyways, why not try to amend something I already do with more Catholic flair?
Faith & Food
I have a deep love of Catholic saint stories and I knew that many saints had special foods associated with them so I figured that would be the best place to start. I googled “Catholic saint meals” and the cookbooks Feasts! and More Feasts!. I immediately bought them and tried my first meal of Baked Tilapia with Cilantro Cream Sauce for Lent. Not only did I love the recipes, I loved the liturgical tidbits in the book. It helped me to understand why the church had the calendar rhythm that it did.
At first I just made the saint meals that were in these two books but I loved it so much that I wanted to expand my idea. And so I did. One rainy afternoon(s) I decided that an all out Catholic liturgical food meal prep was in order and out came the excel chart. You know I mean business when I create an excel spreadsheet. lol. In essence, I decided to create a year-long calendar with all the liturgical events I could find (saint days, holidays, feasts, solemnities, fasts, etc.). You name it, it went on my chart (& it’s continuing to grow!). I then researched food/colors/traditions associated with those days and added those things to the chart.
I figured, if I meal plan every week anyways why not have some plug-in meals that I don’t have to plan for? Genius! So it has been about 5 months or so since starting this calendar and I love it. It makes meal planning just a bit easier and adds a Catholic component to dinner time each week.
P.S. I’m trying to get better about preparing a one-sheeter about the saint with a quick prayer to add to our liturgical dinners. Baby steps. Baby steps.
Well, now that my meal calendar is well on its way, it’s time to find other ways to up our liturgical living. I’ve recently pre-ordered Kendra Tierney’s The Catholic All Year Compendium and started using my Blessed is She Daily Planner & devotional emails. I’ve been reading and Pinteresting away on ways to add a Catholic dimension to the home by setting up a home altar and other seasonally-based traditions. We’ll see how my adventure goes! I’m not looking to add too many things too quickly because then they won’t stick. I want our liturgical living to be something that defines who our family is in this day and age.
Read more on Kendra’s blog – Catholic All Year: Creating a Family Culture