I have never thought of my mother as a sappy person, in fact I have always seen her as quite emotionless like a Vulcan in contrast with my good-natured father, which would make me like a reverse Dr Spock. Still, ever since her journey with cancer, she has become prone to sentimental outbursts about my brother and I; the latest last week, to mark my first birthday with “a family of my own”. Presently, the family of my own comprises 1 husband, 1 teddy bear (Benji), 1 dinosaur (Alessia the Dinosaur, normally called just Dinosaur) and the recent addition of 1 shark (Blåhaj from IKEA), but I guess the fact there is a hyphenated surname on my Waitrose deliveries makes us a family in our own rights even without children.
I have long started looking at my own habits of which I want to get rid before any children appear in the picture (even though, unlike every other Catholic couple who married in 2019, that’s not a matter of months…), so I’m also starting to look at those I want to build. A Twitter conversation lately brought to my attention how the age of Instagram has brought about a spike in liturgical living that involves doing things like special meals etc, and I have failed at doing that every time I have said I was going to start (and I still don’t have the drinking with the saints book!). So, perhaps, that’s not the best approach for my current state in life (I have spent most of 2019 in bed with a migraine, and I had one overnight 5 days into the new year).
I still would like to be more attuned to the passage of time, though, as the ending of 2019 assaulted my unaware self who was feeling like it couldn’t have possibly been this late in the year already. So, here’s my plan for 2020.
Liturgical Seasons over Days
My biggest priority is to bring back the Carnival, and really observe Lent in a special way. Other than that, I have waited until the end of Christmastide to go back to work (except for a short time-sensitive article I submitted on Saturday, mea culpa) and the Blessed is She new year prayer journey will get me to almost the end of the Christmas season on Candlemas. I will continue with special devotions on top of the usual ones for other significant periods of the year like Easter, rather than just Lent and Advent.
While they are no longer obligatory in the Church calendar and are, therefore, mostly observed by traditionalists following the 1962 calendar and Ordinariate folks, they are a beautiful way to connect the liturgical calendar to the seasons (as each week of 3 ember days falls in a different season). This connection, at least to me, strongly suggests a connection with being mindful of God’s creation and grateful for what we received from Him through it. The dates for 2020 are March: 4, 6, and 7; June 3, 5, and 6; September 16, 18, and 19 and December 16, 18, and 19.
At least one Feast Day observed per month
I’ve been meaning to embrace the First Friday devotion (and the BiS NY prayer journey being around the Sacred Heart of Jesus has truly made me feel guilty about it) but unless some circumstances in my life change it’s unlikely that I can commit to doing something on a specific date for 9 consecutive months. However, I can make my circumstances work around different dates of the year so that I would be going to Mass to mark a feast other than a holy day of obligation. I would also learn more about the saint, and read something they wrote if they left us such a legacy. It doesn’t need planning, there is a feast day every day, optional or otherwise, so it can be a last-minute decision. I figure out I can get to a church and then just research the saint and take it from there…
Pilgrimages and retreats
There are a number of shrines in London alone, so I want to be more intentional about arranging for days of prayer away from the frenetic rhythm of modern life. Retreats are already a large part of my calendar and I will look at ways in which I may incorporate more of them, especially a silent retreat should I not manage to make the community one.
Do you plan to live liturgically in 2020? How will you do that?