Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Little Oratory Chapter Four: The Liturgical Year

I absolutely love family traditions. When I think about our "family vision," half of my daydreaming revolves around what I want the Church's great feast days to look like in our home.  I mean, I have quite a collection of literature on the topic and I lurk around all sorts of Catholic culture blogs.

This, however, doesn't mean I do any of the actual execution of the said traditions very well...but I'm LEARNING!

I feel like my liturgical adventures truly started when my five year commitment as an officer in the Coast Guard was done in the summer of 2009 (service time in exchange for free college). I was FINALLY at home with my then three children and wow...there were all sorts of fun things and crafts to be doing with my littles! Except....I realized very quickly...our Church likes to celebrate...and wow...I would be finishing up All Saint's Day festivities only to take on Martinmas*.

*I LOVE putting a "mas" at the end of these feast days, so Jane Austen, no?

However, as my wise friend Angela says, "Each child we have brings us more wisdom." Liturgically, I am now in the...what works for us...season. Gift number five will be coming around Halloween (Hallowmas..ha!) and right before Advent and Christmas...and I have to ask...what is going to work for us this year?

They served cocoa & cookies after noon Mass. I love their Alaskan snow boots :)
How much is too much? What is truly necessary and what looks more like a secular jumbled mess of a holiday? Am I looking around at how others are celebrating or am I thinking about the needs of this home? The Liturgy of the Hours and the prayer table seem to be a good centering for these traditions and I think chapter four is gently pleading...ARE YOU GRASPING THE ESSENTIAL?

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that the authors point us to SUNDAY first. Before diving into the different traditions around our favorite holidays, we are pointed toward THE day of rest.

"If you put Sunday worship and Sunday rest first, all will be added unto you

She was having warm milk while I sipped my coffee.
You will finally understand life and your place in it

You will see your way clear to solutions to problems that have seemed intractable, or you will be content with the way things are

depending on what God's will for you is - which you will grasp.

When a person orients himself to Sunday and is determined to make it a different day (not another day of achieving things or getting things done), he finds that he is at peace."

Well written and so necessary...

I wrote about our Sundays a little here and what a great influence Joseph Pieper's Leisure the Basis of Culture had on my understanding of this special day (his book was recommended on Like Mother, Like Daughter).

Also from Chapter 4:

"Many parents today search for meaningful ways to convey the richness of the Faith to their children, not realizing that the celebration of the liturgical year, plain and simple, with the Church, is the best way to teach them. And it requires little more than just living along with her.

Sure, there are crafts and books and various activities, but the core of liturgical living, as practiced for two millennia now, is what we ought to be after.

In this way we start thinking with the mind of the Church, because her mind is in the seasons."

I just love it...her mind is in the seasons.


This is so fitting as I think about my dear friend Melinda. She emailed me and said she just finished reading chapter four of The Little Oratory as well, and that she has lots of ideas for her home! 

I love, however, as Catholic women, Melinda and I are sharing a season. She is growing a baby under her heart and I am growing a baby under mine, and our friend Krysten is also growing a baby. My friend Kelley is also due any day!

Littles make the world go round...

(Ready for a two night Catholic Kids Camp at the Shrine of St Therese...they had a blast!)

In this life growing season, we will manage our homes with our limits. God will give us the grace to do what is enough for the day. Our traditions will, once again, be celebrated in "the year of the baby" where we will have to maybe give up on certain laborious dinners or celebrated outings in order to keep peace in ourselves and in our home.

I love knowing I have a simple prayer space set up...and that can be enough. I love, as mentioned in this chapter, that the Liturgy of the Hours will naturally unfold the seasons for us in the prayers we say. I can breathe a sigh of relief that our Mother Church, because of her seasonal mind, has everything already taken care of!

Thank you for reading! I have come across some new blogs as a result of doing this summer book study and am so grateful for the windows into these beautiful domestic churches. You can read what others mamas are doing for their Little Oratories here.God Bless!

Summer in the Little Oratory

The Little Oratory Chapter One
The Little Oratory Chapter Two
The Little Oratory Chapter Three


  1. Thank you for this enthusiastic and insightful post! It gladdens the heart of the authors to know someone really gets it :)
    Enjoy! And God bless you all.

  2. Thank you for this book! It is so very approachable and I am enjoying taking time to reflect on it.