Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Liturgical Living: an Alternative Lifestyle

This was {originally posted here} on Oct. 1, 2013.

Hope you've noticed--I've been making note of the feast days for each blog entry these past weeks.  It's a habit I first encountered in a young adult book (highly recommended), Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Kushman.  In this journal of an English adolescent and daughter of a poor country knight, Birdy conveys her society's saturation with the liturgical seasons.  The book made a lasting impression on me: first, as a novel worth emulating, if I ever wanted to write and publish a story of my own one day; and second, as witness to the beauty and rhythm of the seasons observed by the medieval Church.

In my desire and resolutions to live a more liturgically-focused lifestyle, I've found an excuse to take up Birdy's practice.  And though we've been extremely busy these past few weeks, what with new jobs, colds, fundraisers, and speech therapy appointments, I'm not unhappy with my novice's attempt to live liturgically this Ordinary Time.

Making hot cross buns for Holy Cross Day.  I substituted maple syrup and almond milk, and left out the currants.

They came out delicious!  Even though the crosses made them look more like fortune cookies.

So how does one incorporate the feasts of the Church into everyday life?  In this, I've found two main sources helpful: CatholicCulture.org is an excellent online resource to the liturgical year, with brief introductions of saints and feast days and links to recipes, activities, crafts, and prayers; The Year and Our Children is also helpful to have on hand.

This September, there were hot cross buns for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14).  I cooked up a huge pot of farfalle with peppers and Italian sausage in memorial of Saint Padre Pio (Sept. 23).  We sang "Good King Wenceslaus" on St. Wenceslaus's day (Sept. 28) and baked tea cookies to honor the English tradition of free tea shop treats on this old saint's feast.  And though I would have liked a devil pinata for Michaelmas (Sept. 29), we made do with Saint Michael's the Archangel's prayers for attacking our colds and defending our good health.

While the secular world moves through its cycles, we are aware of the deeper meanings behind berries and bonfires.

The Harvest Moon is always the full moon nearest to the autumn equinox--this month, Sept. 19, Feast of Saint Januarius.

My son is still young, so we've set aside the crafts for next year.  And while the recipes have been hit or miss, depending on the amount of time they take to prepare and my wellness that day, merely being aware of the liturgical season has placed a peace on me--as one who inhabits a country or climate is more secure, more aware of the lively world around her, assured of her place and role in Creation.

I still read Catherine, Called Birdy about once a year, incidentally, completely by accident.

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