I've spent the last year or so really trying to connect with Catholic social media. This time last year, I was truly lonely. I spent most of time with a infant and had little to no adult conversation aside from my mom on the phone and my husband when our paths crossed through his demanding work schedule. My deep dive into Catholic social media has led me to an excellent Catholic mamas group on Facebook, the Blessed Is She community, bloggers, Twitter profiles, and Instagram stories. Oftentimes, these inspiring Catholic women write or talk about liturgical living. Something I can recall wanting to do for years but not really knowing what it was called or what it really looked like, let alone how to do it.
I was somewhat raised to live liturgically. My Catholic elementary school celebrated St. Nicholas's feast day, blessed our throats on the Feast of St. Blaise, and organized a Mardi Gras each year for its students. My mother arranges her manager scene to show the Three Kings traveling to Bethlehem and does not put baby Jesus out until Christmas Eve. Living liturgically means celebrating the variety of feasts that the Catholic Church has each year. It helps to remember our Catholic faith, our Catholic tradition even when it isn't Sunday! In my own home, I model my manager scene like my mom's and enjoy making pancakes every Fat Tuesday, but I want to do more!
The Catholic Church maintains its own liturgical year, independent of the world-wide new year that begins each January. The first Sunday of Advent (next Sunday!) marks the beginning of the new liturgical year. We begin with the story of Jesus' conception during Advent and celebrate his birth during the Christmas season. The Christmas season lasts until January 8th, with the feast of the Epiphany. We are then in Ordinary Time until Lent as we prepare for the Tridium (also known as Holy Week) and the joyful Easter season that follows it. Throughout this is scattered the many, many feast days dedicated to different saints of the Church.
Praying liturgically, or in line with the liturgical calendar, means we intercede through and remember the saints on their feast days. We honor solemnities and Holy Days of Opportunity to attend Mass. Ultimately, the point of living and praying in this manner is that we are constantly reminded that the Church is much more than a place we go on Sundays to fulfill an obligation. Being Christian is something we always are. We always have something to celebrate as members of the Boyd of Christ! Whether it is the feast of holy man or woman or it is a season of special prayer and giving, we are always Catholic.
So, to celebrate the beginning of a new liturgical year, why not make a "new year's resolution" for our faith? How can you do better to always be Catholic, always be Christian, always be a follow of Christ? What can you do to make this new year be a better year for your relationship with Christ and His Church?
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At the very heart of the Catholic devotion to Mary is the Greek word "Theotokos", meaning "God-Bearer". The title proclaims Mary's integral role in God's plan as the sacred vessel that carried, bore, and raised God's own Son. "Theotokos" was the title given to Mary during the early days of the Church because to call her merely the Mother of Christ left certain heresies regarding Mary and her Son open.
When the Church declared Mary "Theotokos" they were simultaneously declaring an important piece of the faith and affirming that Christ was fully human and fully divine; truly, the Son of God. Even five hundred years after her Son's death, Mary's being helped to explain who He was and what He brought for us from God.
Deeply rooted in this title is Mary's acceptance of God's plan in her life. Despite the fear that she must have felt in the presence of an angel, despite her lack of understanding how a virgin could become pregnant, despite any other doubts she may have had, she said "yes" to God's plan. Mary's unfailing "yes" is what places her so high in Heaven. It is through her acceptance of God's plan that we were given our salvation.
However, Mary's "yes" is not unique; we all have the opportunity to become "God Bearers" to one another by saying our own "yes" to God.
This is why "Theotokos" is the greatest title Mary bears and one that we can all bear. By accepting God's will in our daily lives, we follow in Mary's path to walk closer with her Son. We become "God-Bearers". Mary's greatest desire is to bring us into communion with her Son, let us intercede this week for her guidance and grace to answer, "Yes!", when God calls.
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