This Lent and Holy Week was extra special for me because I was privileged to share a bit about how we practice “Liturgical Living” with a few of our former co-missionaries who are exploring homeschooling. I remember when our family was just starting our homeschool journey. I found many valuable resources online and discovered the beauty of living the Liturgy in our homes (and everywhere else!). I have to thank the many Catholic mom bloggers — mostly from the U.S. — who took the time to share their families’ individual takes on Liturgical Living.
Of course, this does not mean that I am an “expert” on Liturgical Living. I certainly am not. Our family is still “muddling along,” as I told our ex-missionary friends earlier this week. We are just doing what we can, when we can, all by God’s grace. Some seasons find us doing “more,” some seasons doing “less,” but every season we do try to do whatever we can.
Also, please do allow me to say that I think Liturgical Living is not something that is only for Catholic homeschooling families. It is something that every Catholic family can try to practice. Personally, I believe that it is not just for married people with kids but for single people too. It’s really about living out our faith. Our faith, after all, is part of what makes us “truly rich and blessed.”
So what is Liturgical Living anyway?
To answer that question, let’s look at what the word “liturgy” means, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1069 The word “liturgy” originally meant a “public work” or a “service in the name of/on behalf of the people.” In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in “the work of God.” 5Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.
1070 In the New Testament the word “liturgy” refers not only to the celebration of divine worship but also to the proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity. 6 In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor. In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one “leitourgos”; 7 she shares in Christ’s priesthood (worship), which is both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity):
The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man’s sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree. 8
So, in essence, to “live the liturgy” or practice Liturgical Living means we worship Jesus in our daily lives, we serve Him and others, and we proclaim Him to others, too. At least that is my personal take on it.
Liturgical Living means we also do our best to observe the different seasons of the liturgical year in our home: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Sacred Paschal or Easter Triduum, Easter, Ordinary Time.
We have family traditions that are in line with each season, and strive to tailor our lifestyle according to each season too. (You can take a peek at what living the liturgy looks like for our family here or try searching for the hashtag #LiturgicalLiving on Instagram and Facebook — you’ll see many posts from Catholics from different parts of the world.)
To help you get started (or maybe “level up”, if you consider yourself a “newbie”) on Liturgical Living, allow me to share some resources that I think will be helpful particularly for Catholic Filipino families (besides the “obvious,” like the Sacraments, Bible, etc.):
We use devotionals like Didache (published by Kerygma Books) as part of our daily read-alouds with the kids. (Or at least we try to. #KeepingItReal 😉 ) Sometimes, I ask the older kids to take turns reading the Gospel passages and reflections. I believe that Liturgical Living means we should immerse ourselves in God’s Word daily, so we strive to make regular Bible reading time part of our daily lives.
2. “Faith-themed” children’s books from different bookstores
Books are wonderful teaching tools especially for children (and adults, actually!). Personally, I’ve found it much easier to live the liturgy when we have books that can be “connected” to certain seasons or feasts. For example, for Saint Nicholas Day (Dec. 6), we read The Baker’s Dozen, or for Lent/Holy Week/Easter, we read different books like The Very First Easter.
Over the years, we have collected books that help us in Liturgical Living from different bookstores, mostly secondhand ones like Booksale and The Learning Basket. I’m also a member of different Facebook groups that have been set up mostly for book-
hoarders lovers like me, and sometimes I manage to buy good books from the sellers there, too.
3. Your local parish bookstore / religious items store
Religious item stores like the ones at local parishes or “bigger” ones like St. Paul’s have been a great Liturgical Living resource for our family. We usually buy our Easter gifts for the kids at St. Paul’s (and elsewhere — see my post on Pinay Voices for more details). We also got our lovely Advent Wreath and Advent/Christmas family prayer book there, plus many other items over the years, including videos that teach kids (and adults!) about the Catholic faith.
Recently, we also got images from Holy Images PH, like this Sleeping Saint Joseph statue:
Displaying religious items in our home and using sacramentals are beautiful ways for us to live the liturgy and make our faith more “real” to us.
4. Local Catholic entrepreneurs
I am one of those people who totally supports entrepreneurship, just like one of my “mentors” Kuya/Brother Bo Sanchez. I have a particular fondness for local Catholic business owners whose businesses are all about spreading the Catholic faith. One such entrepreneur is Weena Contreras of Everything Is Grace.
My fuzzy, sleep-deprived brain cannot recall when exactly Weena and I “met” online, but I am truly grateful to the Lord for allowing our paths to cross. Weena’s faith life, particularly their family’s adoption story, is very inspiring, and so is her business: exquisitely hand-painted wooden saint dolls!
Wooden saint dolls are great tools for hands-on play, and help encourage a love for the saints among kids. (Although I’m pretty sure many adults will like them, too!) I first came across the concept of playing with wooden saint dolls years ago, when our eldest was only 4 or 5 years old. I saw them in a Catholic homeschool mom’s blog post and I remember wishing that they were available locally here in the Philippines. Well, now they are, thanks to Weena and her family (her husband and young son also help her in the business)! 🙂
Incidentally, Weena has a special “Easter gift” for everyone this Easter Sunday. All orders made via her shop using her special Easter discount code (Easter-17) will be 15% off! Watch the video below for more details:
I actually have my eye on the following saint dolls for our kids and one of my godchildren:
5. Catholic Filipino online resources
While I usually refer to U.S.-based websites like CatholicCulture.org, CatholicIcing.com, and CatholicAllYear.com for Liturgical Living, I also regularly check local Catholic online resources like 100% Katolikong Pinoy, Catholic Resources Ph, and CBCP News for possible tips and tools that we can use. It’s actually my prayer that Truly Rich and Blessed will be considered a “valid” Liturgical Living resource for Catholic Filipino families. 🙂 (Please pray with me that it will be so!)
I also pray that this list of resources will help you somehow in your journey towards Liturgical Living. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that there is no one “perfect” way to live the liturgy. Just as each person and each family is unique, Liturgical Living in each home is also unique. May the Lord bless each of us then — married and single; with or without kids — as we discover the beauty of living out our faith, one step, one day at a time!
Do you practice Liturgical Living in your family? Do share in the comments!