On Celebrating Feast Days

This is simply a loose list of how our family lives liturgically and tries to celebrate feasts days. It is more a guide for myself to go back to when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need to go back to basics as this doesn’t really apply to a specific feast. I thought to write about it because I’m finally sitting down and reading Story of a Soul cover to cover! In my copy, the translator gives a brief biography of Thérèse’s family life and how Zelie and Louis lived a rich liturgical life that clearly made a lasting impression on their girls. Obviously, the century + between us and the Martin’s ensure that nothing can quite be the same, but I wanted to share a little bit about how we try.

The first thing that struck me about Thérèse’s home life is how her family often read aloud from the Liturgical Year collection. While we don’t have all those particular books, reading both scripture and spiritual reading is something we’d like to add to our family read-alouds. We have had great success in the Angel Food books by Father Gerald Brennan. Our copies don’t have pictures but the stories all revolve around virtues and line up with the Baltimore Catechism. When Liam is home, he leads a family Rosary where the children are expected to “kneel up” facing the Sacred Heart picture on our mantel. This is never without its problems as our big boys are 3 ½ and 2 but we correct them gently and have noticed a considerable improvement in their Mass behavior. When he is not home, I will put a Latin Rosary on in the background while the boys do a quiet activity.

What I found rather shocking was how Zelie and Louis treated feast days and Sunday’s (a mini Easter!). Thérèse wrote of her fond memories of good food, rest, and relaxation and got me brainstorming with a few friends of how we can better live these great days…

About a year ago, Liam felt strongly about not shopping on Sundays—amazon or otherwise. We also feel strongly about not paying others to work on the Sabbath (ie going out to eat or paying for a lawn/tree service etc). Very rarely we will go out to brunch after Low Mass but that is usually the extent of it. Interestingly enough, the 1962 Missal includes shopping on Sundays as part of the Examen before Confession. We have also decided that the cchildren will not be participating in any sports that play or practice on Sunday.

Next, we looked at what “rest” looks like for us individually. Of course, as the children get older, we won’t do school on Sunday, Liam will be home from work whenever possible…but what does rest look like for the housekeeper and cook (me and most moms everywhere)? I went back to my Mother’s Rule of Life book (highly recommend!!!) and weeded out what didn’t need to be done on Sunday. For me, laundry (with the exception of diapers), dusting, floors, and bathroom scrubbing all got the boot until the next available day. As for food, I am making an intentional effort to cook or prep as much as possible on Saturday so the meals on Sunday and cleanup are good, hearty, and easy (it also helps that we only eat two meals + snacks due to the Eucharistic fast). This structure also applies to Obligatory Holy Days (All Saints, Christmas, etc). We abstain from meat and fast the day before those feasts so doing some extra chores and meal prep honestly just makes the day go faster for us!

Finally, Liam and I discussed small things that would truly “make the day” for us and the children. For Liam, it’s some Bailey’s in his coffee and a new book to read; for me, my favorite wine or cider at night and a family walk. We try to make (or buy beforehand) a special dessert and take out some special toys for the kids (read: dad’s special Star Wars Legos). We can’t wait to start adding puzzles, board games, and movies to the mix! We indulge the children by reading aloud allllll the books they want. It is a time we are intentional about staying off our phones and investing in our family that we are spiritually responsible for. We want to really instill the idea of rest in our children amidst the busyness of our “plugged in” culture. Great things STILL HAPPEN even if there are no pictures to “prove” it. Seriously, imagine how maddening it would be if someone stuck a phone in our face when we tried to open Christmas gifts, play a board game, or take a walk to the park. The idea of living life un-posed is a gift Liam and I feel strongly about giving to our children (though let’s be real, we all love the occasional, grammable picture). We are constantly discerning how much access we want the outside world to have to our children (via email and social media) and Liam’s new job is requiring us to really limit our family’s identifying details.

What feasts do we celebrate? All First-Class feasts as well as our “family feasts” (see picture below). While we admire family’s who are super into many feasts, that just isn’t feasible for us right now so until a saint is added in some way or another to our school curriculum, we are sticking with celebrating the saints who are near and dear to our particular family as well as the ones the Church honors with a first class feast.

I would love to know how your family honors the fourth Commandment and celebrate our Church’s rich history!

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