In an interview at Aleteia, author Chene Heady offered thoughts on following the Liturgical Year. He said, “…the distinguishing hallmark of the modern West is the loss of a sense of shared meaning.” He adds, “…we have lost our sense of story.” Our experiences seem random and disconnected so we live without substantial connection to ourselves and to others except for “fragmentary shouts of Facebook and Twitter.” We have lost a sense of the trajectory of the larger story and it’s sometimes hard for us to make sense of the world.
Heady says the Church offers a different, more meaningful perspective. He says, “Christianity teaches that the universe does have an overall story, running from creation until the end of time, and that this story can be embodied in the life of a concrete individual: Jesus.”
The liturgical calendar, is set up to follow the life of Christ and the lives of his followers. And when we follow and give our attention to the liturgical calendar (observing Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, Easter), we have a way to connect our daily lives to this larger Story.
Heady says we see the world differently in light of the liturgical year. For example, I can view today as a random Thursday in late November or I can see today as a Thursday in Ordinary Time—the last Thursday in Ordinary Time before Advent begins on Sunday. That simple shift offers deeper layers of meaning for me in my own life and it connects me to a tradition and story larger than myself.
Now I’m thinking a bit about the beginning of a new liturgical year that will arrive in just a few days. I’m thinking about the season of Advent and the birth of Jesus and his second coming. I am also more in touch with some of my soul longings—a longing to know more of who God is and more of who I am. A longing to follow this new round of the liturgical year with more understanding of the gospel than I had last Advent.
One way I follow the liturgical year beyond knowing which season or day it is, is to read the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary which I read using the Book of Common Prayer. (More specifically, a Book of Common Prayer app on my phone.) The daily readings offer prayers and Scriptures and Psalms that follow the liturgical year and help me connect my own stories to God’s larger story, which is a hope I have for myself and for others here at Soul Storying.
If you have questions about how to practically engage the liturgical year or the liturgical readings, please comment below or email me at email@example.com. I’m happy to help you feel comfortable moving in this direction if this idea of the liturgical year is new to you. I have several resources I can point you to, which I will be writing about in the coming days.