Saturday, March 14, 2009

Living Liturgically: A Practical Guide

Todd, in the comments down below, asks me for suggestions about how to live more liturgically. Well, that's a request begging for a long, well-thought out response. You'll have to make due with this.

The first point, which I've come to believe is essential, is not to try to do too much. This might seem paradoxical, since I complain that we don't live liturgically enough, but there is a danger: By trying to do too much, one fails, and then loses heart. Take me, for example: I love the liturgy of the Byzantine Church, and have attempted to pray the hours in the Byzantine way. This is doomed to failure, since to pray the Byzantine hours takes a significant percentage of the total hours of the day. If you sing them, it might take more than 24 hours to do it.

Pick something you can do, and stick to it. Here is where it is good to get a spiritual director, one who is intelligent and faithful, with experience. How do you find one? Darned if I know. Ask around. Do you know anyone who prays, and who possesses a good deal of practical wisdom? This might be your man (or woman). When the spiritual director tells you to do something, do it. There is virtue in both the act and the obedience.

You might want to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or perhaps just one of the hours each day. You can find it online, and even on the Iphone (IBreviary). The Roman version is quite manageable. A Rosary could be a good place to start, or some time reflecting on Scripture, or a holy hour at a church. Note, that "holy hour" is an expression: it could be a holy five minutes. A small thing faithfully done is better than a great thing not done.

Consider also changing the way you think about the calendar. Instead of the 14th day of March, think of it in terms of the liturgical season, the saints of the day, or the gospel readings.

That should suffice for now.