Thursday, January 15, 2009


A friend and I were briefly discussing liturgy the other day. She said she had a leaning towards liturgical churches. And wondered if such leanings were a result of personality and not necessarily theology.

What do we mean by the term liturgical church? Most churches have some form of liturgy that guides the flow of service, but a "liturgical church" conducts its services by a strict, prescribed liturgy — a formal structure or order of worship, which has been passed down from tradition. This type of church generally places much emphasis upon ceremony and ritual, and may use various forms of religious icons.

Now, I love celebrating the liturgical year. When I became a Catholic, the Mass (and mostly it was the Latin Mass that I attended, that drew me to the Church) , the feast days, the solemnities, the readings for and meanings attached to each day, it was these that gave me a true sense of God , of Faith, in my life.

Liturgy leitourgia is a Greek composite word meaning originally a public
duty, a service to the state undertaken by a citizen.In Christian use liturgy meant the public official service of the Church, that corresponded to the official service of the Temple in the Old Law.

Liturgy often means the whole complex of official services, all the
rites, ceremonies, prayers, and sacraments of the Church, as opposed to private devotions. In this sense we speak of the arrangement of all these services in certain set forms used officially by the Church.

But the Catholic
Encyclopedia also writes of liturgy ~ The other sense of the word liturgy, now the common one in all Eastern Churches, restricts it to the chief official service only -- the Sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, which in our rite we call the Mass.

My St Andrew's Missal states ~ This fount of living water which springs up in our hearts unto life eternal, refers, no doubt, to the private prayer with which the Holy Spirit may inspire us, and in which we are led by Him to God as children to their father, but it is principally that official prayer with which the Holy Spirit inspires His Church and which we call the Liturgy. ...The primary aim of the liturgy is to worship God by prayers and sacrifice; its second is the sanctification of mankind:sacrifice and public prayer are two of the principal channels through which we may obtain those graces of life divine...

At the
4 Real Learning forum, a poster asked about living the liturgical year, on an average day. She pondered living our faith, not on the bigger feast days but on the ordinary days, the feria days, the days in Ordinary Time. She acknowledged that daily Mass was not really possible for her with young children and wanted living the Faith to be natural, not forced.

People replied. With some excellent advice about prayer and setting times for prayer.

Now, in this family, most of our praying, the Morning offering, the Rosary and so forth, are usually prayed while in the car. One of the times we are together and have a captive audience.

When I lead the grace before meals, I tend to attach the Angelus to the grace or blessing, regardless of time. So, at least I know we have prayed the Angelus, have brought our minds and thoughts to God. Even if I fiddle while praying.

And we alternate prayers in Latin and English. Alternate days. Just to help with understanding Latin, the language of the Church. Its separate-ness, for want of a better term. Language that for us that is not infused with other meanings or connotations.

As a convert, how have I tried to make my Faith part of our day? With unschooling, I like to strew educational things, to guide, to spark interest, to inspire not require ( although I can bark out orders as good as any Sargeant Major!) , to make learning a natural part of the day.

Therefore, even now, in official school holidays, we read, we talk, we do some maths and some Latin.

Similarly with my Faith. In effect, one could say that I try to strew my Faith. In the ordinary things of every day.

What has helped me strew my Faith is looking at myself and doing little things.

f? I aim to read my missal each day, preferably in the morning but not always so. I use that 1961 St Andrews Missal mentioned above. I find that I tend to reflect on the readings all day, and this eventually permeates my day, my interactions with the kids, my thoughts, my conversation.

Daily Mass, when I can, either by myself or with the kids, helps, too. We have some regular Masses that we aim to attend each week - the Tuesday night St Anthony Mass, the Friday morning 9.15 Mass, I like attending Mass on a Saturday morning, too...

I have a Saints book with gorgeous art on the computer table ~ this
book ~ and each morning, I or someone else, flicks to the saint for the day - it is as natural for us as sitting down to read email or check blogs and Facebook ( oh dear) - and thus we end up looking at the Saint for the day and at the art. Thinking. Talking. Bringing our Faith to the forefront.

I also change the centrepiece at the dining table to reflect the liturgical year. Sometimes I just put flowers and a statue or the missal or the Bible on the table. We work at that table, we eat, we talk, visitors come and and comment on the centrepiece . This kind of naturally draws our mind to the liturgy and to God.

Little things, I know, but little things, natural strewing, have been helpful for us in experiencing the liturgy, praying the liturgy, living the liturgy.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

That's a great post, thank you!