Liturgical living does not have to be extravagant–just intentional.
I love to see all of the creative ways that people live liturgically. The decorations, treats, crafts, and celebrations fill my heart with joy! If you have the means to go all out like this, definitely go for it, but if this isn’t realistic for you, then that’s alright!
In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s so important to celebrate the liturgical year. We celebrate and remember holy days and solemnities to remember what God has done for us and to look forward to our eternal life with Him. When we celebrate the lives of the Saints, we see examples of holy men and women, we recognize what God has done in their lives, and we find encouragement to live our faith radically.
Sometimes life is overwhelming and difficult, and sometimes we’re in seasons of life when liturgical living is best done in simple ways. Fortunately, we can live the liturgical calendar without breaking the bank or going overboard. There are little things that we can add to our daily routine that will remind us of the Church’s special days. With a little creativity, these tips can be applied to any liturgical season or holy day that you can think of.
Don’t let the phrase “feast day” make you think that you have to have an actual feast! No one is stopping you from taking the extra mile and making a three-course meal for special solemnities and feast days, but many days and seasons in the liturgical year can be celebrated well with simple meals.
Seasons of preparation like Advent and Lent can have simple meals in anticipation for Christmas and Easter, when we’re likely to share delicious meals with our loved ones. Saints who served the poor can be celebrated with small or meatless meals. I think it goes without saying that days of fasting make meal planning simple enough.
Make a family favorite meal that reminds you of whatever you’re celebrating. It could be grilled chicken for St. Lawrence’s Feast Day, a birthday cake for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or crepes for St. Joan of Arc’s Feast Day.
What we wear influences our mood and how we go about our day. Dressing up can be an easy and simple way to celebrate holy days and remember Saints on their feast days.
To start, you can match your attire to a liturgical season’s color. Wear green for ordinary time, purple for Advent and Lent, red for Pentecost and the martyr’s feast days, etc. For our first Divine Mercy Sunday as a married couple, Nathan wore red and I wore blue. I personally love wearing blue for Marian feast days. Mama Mary is often portrayed wearing blue, so blue outfits give a simple nod to her on her many special days.
To kick it up a notch, be creative with patterns, jewelry, accessories, and more. Do you have a shirt with roses printed on it? That would be perfect for St. Therese of Lisieux! Do you have heart-shaped earrings? Those would be lovely for the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Our clothing can also be a great way to evangelize! If someone complements your outfit, you can explain the special occasion that you’re dressing up for!
Don’t feel like you have to shop for a new outfit for every celebration. Take a look at what you already have and be creative with it! Last Pentecost, I didn’t have anything red to wear, so I wore a dark pinkish-purple dress because that was the closest thing to red that I had.
The home is the domestic Church, so the art and decorations within it should remind us of our faith. Similar to how parents might practice toy rotation with their children to enrich their playtime, sacred art that can be “rotated” throughout the liturgical year. This can be done to decorate for the different liturgical seasons and to keep things fresh in your home. Lent is probably the easiest decoration-wise, because you can go minimal with your decorations!
If you’re in the market for new sacred art, search for Catholic artists on Etsy and Instagram. You’ll find unique and unbelievably gorgeous art, décor, and home goods, and you’ll support small businesses!
If you’re on a tighter budget or living simply, homemade decorations are so lovely! Make watercolor paintings, write Bible verses on letterboards, or make flower arrangements or wreaths. The possibilities are limitless, and process of making decorations can even be part of your liturgical living experience.
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For lack of better words, music can really set the tone of your day and of whatever season you’re in. You could listen to hymns, praise and worship music, or even secular music that helps you celebrate the liturgical year.
You can find playlists for liturgical seasons or feast days, or make one of your own! There are tons of playlists on Spotify that are great for liturgical living. I personally love the playlists that Be A Heart makes for feast days and liturgical seasons. Like making your own decorations, making a playlist can be a fruitful part of liturgical living. Gather your favorite Advent or Lent hymns, or collect songs that would be perfect for a holy day or a Saint’s feast day.
Listen to your songs or playlists at home or on your commute to work to get into the spirit of the season. You can also add music to your time in prayer by singing, playing an instrument, or just listening and contemplating each song.
5. Activities, Projects, and Fun
When you select activities and things intentionally, almost anything can be considered liturgical living! You could even set aside April 27 to do chores around your home to celebrate the Feast of St. Zita! This one requires a little more imagination, but that’s the fun of it! Below are some ideas to get you started:
- Do a service project to celebrate Saints like St. Teresa of Calcutta, who spent her life serving others.
- Make a donation to a religious order or a nonprofit, or donate clothes or food to celebrate Saints like St. Francis, who gave up his wealth.
- Volunteer to teach or help children to celebrate Saints like St. John Bosco, who taught young boys.
- Go on a hike or a nature walk to celebrate Saints like St. Kateri Tekawitha, who walked 200 miles to a Christian community.
Not only is prayer a simple way to live liturgically, but it’s also fruitful. When you’re intentional with your time in prayer, you’ll improve your interior life, and you can use it as an opportunity to pray for your intentions.
A simple way to pray around the time of Saints’ feast days is through novenas. Taken from Pentecost, where the apostles prayed for nine days before they received the gift of the Holy Spirit, novenas are nine (or more) consecutive days of prayer. You can end your novena on a certain Saint’s feast day for their intercession. I prayed Padre Pio’s novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus one time, and it was so fruitful. I’ll have to tell you about it sometime.
Every month of the year has a special devotion, so you could easily add something extra to your prayer life each month. January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, so you could pray the Divine Praises every day in January. November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory, so you could pray St. Gertrude’s prayer for souls in purgatory every day in November.
7. The Mass
I would venture to say that the Mass is the best way to live liturgically because the Mass IS the liturgy! No matter what else you have the time or resources to do, if you’re going to Mass regularly, then you’re living liturgically!
Be sure to go to Mass on Holy Days of Obligation. You can check a liturgical calendar or with your diocese to see which days are Holy Days of Obligation. If you’re able to go to daily Mass, you can go to celebrate the feast days of your favorite Saints. This is a great way to celebrate them because the Mass is a heavenly celebration, and all of the angels and Saints are present there.
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