Monday, February 08, 2010

The Role of Mothers in a New Liturgical Movement

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."
-- Proverbs 22:6

Recently, I read a comment made by a Catholic husband and father which brought to mind the important and unique role of Catholic mothers in the new liturgical movement. The comment was simply this: "My wife is really great at bringing the liturgical year into our family life." Bringing the liturgical year into the home is, in fact, a vital part of the new liturgical movement for it helps to keep families rooted in the source and summit of the Christian life: the sacred liturgy. Rooting the family in the liturgical year helps to produce lives which are God-centred and continues the formation and sanctification of the Catholic family that flows from the sacred liturgy. This in turn can then be more readily carried into one's adult life, whether as a priest, religious or as a layman, to be fostered yet further in ourselves and in others. Evidently, everyone has an important part to play in the new liturgical movement, but as it relates to the "domestic church," to bringing the liturgical life into the home, it seems to be the case that in most homes it is the mother who plans and organizes the special celebrations, foods, crafts, songs, stories and prayers, along with appropriate catechesis, for her family in accordance with the Church's liturgical calendar. This is why the Catholic mother's role can be understood as so important and vital for the new liturgical movement, for it is in the home that the formative seeds of the liturgical life can be planted and nurtured.

This said, a major obstacle for Catholic mothers who wish to bring the liturgical life into the home today is that many haven't themselves been raised with the traditions, customs and celebrations that are associated with the liturgical year; they themselves have not been raised in the practice of living a liturgical life. Unfortunately, there has been a very real deficiency in this within the past decades and this has left many Catholic mothers with the challenge of re-learning and re-discovering these things for themselves. There is help in this however, so take heart. Many great resources are now available, written by other Catholic moms who have taken up that challenge, and who have written and passed along their own insights and experiences of bringing the liturgical year into their homes and families.

Resources to help families celebrate the liturgical year in the home needn't be expensive and, in point of fact, there are many free resources available on the internet. One site that I would highly recommend is Catholic Culture and its Liturgical Year section. One will there find explanations of the various feast days, along with hands-on ideas for recipes, crafts, prayers, practices and so forth. There are a number of other helpful sites online and further links and resources will be posted as we endeavour to share more ideas on the NLM for bringing the liturgical life into the home and family -- the "NLM for Moms" if you will.

I wish to encourage mothers to root their families in the sacred liturgy by bringing the liturgical year into their homes. Perhaps there is some truth to the saying that "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" for Catholic mothers can have a great deal of influence over the next generation of Catholics, planting the seeds that can bloom and in turn propagate yet further. By taking up that challenge, they will not only see themselves and their families spiritually profit, they will also take their own important part and place in the fostering of a new liturgical movement.

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