In the podcast we referenced several tools as an onramp into a deeper liturgical practice. Let the treasures below be an invitation to a deeper exploratory process in becoming familiar with and cultivating a practice of living in rhythm with the liturgical calendar and community around the globe.
Liturgical Calendar 101 (dates correspond with 2021)
Background: From the time of the Mosaic law, the People of God have observed fixed feasts, beginning with Passover, to commemorate the astonishing actions of the Savior God, to give him thanks for them, to perpetuate their remembrance, and to teach new generations to conform their conduct to them. Between the Passover of Christ already accomplished once for all, and its consummation in the kingdom of God, the liturgy celebrated on fixed days bears the imprint of the newness of the mystery of Christ. – Catechism, 1164
Through the rhythms of times and seasons, let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation and God’s presence manifest among us.
All Feasts are indexed off of Easter—there is no greater feast in the Christian calendar than Easter.
- Advent includes the 4 Sundays prior to Christmas (which is always Dec. 25th). Therefore, the first day of the Christian Liturgical Year is the 1st Sunday of Advent.
- Lent is 40 days and concludes before the beginning of the Triduum.
- The Triduum is the shortest of the liturgical seasons and includes the evening of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday through the Easter Vigil. This is the “Passover” of the Christian People.
- The Easter Season includes the 50 days of Easter through Pentecost (Easter exceeds Lent!):
–The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord occurs 40 days after Easter, as described in Scripture (see Acts 1:3).
–Pentecost, or the Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, occurs 50 days after Easter, for the Jewish calendar originally celebrated this as 50 days following Passover (see Acts 2: 1).
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent (17th day of February).
The Ascension of the Lord (13th day of May)
Pentecost marks the conclusion of the season of Easter (23rd day of May).
First Sunday of Advent (28th day of November)
Onramp for Advent
Advent (from the Latin Ad-Venire, “to come to”) is the liturgical season in preparation for Christmas. The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas.
- Advent wreath: The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead (see https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year-and-calendar/advent).
- Manger / Nativity Scene: Invented by St. Francis of Assisi as a means to worship God in his Incarnation, with the use of figures / stable scene depicting the birth of Jesus
- Read the promises of the coming of a Savior (Isaiah 9).
Onramp for Lent
Lent is a time during which “the Church unites herself…to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.” Jesus was “driven by the Spirit into the desert” after his baptism in the Jordan, and he remained there for 40 days in solitude, without eating. Jesus overcame the temptations in the desert, which prefigured his triumph over evil in his Passion and death (see https://denvercatholic.org/live-lent-according-catechism/).
- Watch The Passion of the Christ
- Set aside time for particular prayer to align your soul daily with this set-apart season.
- Practice acts of fasting—i.e. abstaining, which creates more room for God (See “I Love Beer More Than Jesus” blog and podcast and chapter 8 of Becoming a King.)
- Practice acts of charity and generosity and compassionate service toward those entrusted to your care. (Mark 12:31)
- Meditate on the readings for Ash Wednesday (Feb. 17).
- First Reading: Joel 2: 12-18
- Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
- Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
- Meditate on the readings for Palm Sunday (March 28).
- At the Procession with Palms: Mark 11:1-10 or John 12:12-16
- 1st Reading: Isaiah 50:4-7
- Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
- 2nd Reading: Philippians 2:6-11
- Gospel: Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39
- Meditate on the readings for Good Friday
- Isaiah 52:13–53:12
- Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25
- Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
- John 18:1–19:42
Encouragements for Easter
See Easter Proclamation below.
Lectio Divina is a contemplative way of reading the Bible. It dates back to the early centuries of the Christian Church and was established as a monastic practice by Benedict in the 6th century. It is a way of praying the Scriptures that leads us deeper into God’s word. We slow down. We read a short passage more than once. We chew it over slowly and carefully. We savor it. Scripture begins to speak to us in a new way. It speaks to us personally, and aids that union we have with God through Christ who is himself the Living Word.
Taken from the Anglican Communion: https://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/253799/1-What-is-Lectio-Divina.pdf
Pray through the Easter Proclamation of St. John Chrysostom (347–407 AD).