Many Catholics are being thrown for a loop right now as public Masses are canceled in their diocese. It’s painful to be taken away from something that for so long has been the fount of our faith. I suggest, however, that this is the perfect time to bring back our church’s rich history of rituals and prayers performed in the domestic church.
Here are a few to try to bring into your home.
Pray the Rosary
If you have little ones or you just don’t have the energy or the time, a decade will do. There are tons of videos online that you can pray with. My seven-year-old loves praying with a different priest in a different place every night right now (as long as it’s in English).
Pray the Liturgy of the Hours
Considered the Prayer of the Church, it is the prayers used by priests and religious all over the world. They can be found online or on a free app on your phone, I recommend iBrevary. It takes about fifteen minutes, 1-4 times times a day if you pray all of the prayers. I generally only do morning and might. You can do whatever your schedule allows.
Make a household altar
I used to think this was only a Latin American thing, but any trip Catholic groups on Twitter or Facebook will lead you to discover many Catholics all over the United States adopting this practice in their households. Dedicate a particular table or surface, mine is on top of a dresser, and place your most treasured religious art and statues. Do your prayers at it and keep it a special place just to be close to God.
Pray with Icons
Related to the above, get yourself some icons if you don’t already. Icons are a special type of religious art that is considered to be a window to the divine reality that they represent. They have a distinctive style and they are “written” not drawn.
Try Lectio Divina
Take Sunday’s readings or any Bible reading that speaks to you and spend time with it. It is a very special way to get close to Jesus and to let His Word soak into your soul.
Grace before meals
Use this time to rededicate yourself to praying before meals. It’s easy to forget to pray before meals when you’re running around from place to place. Use this time to rebuild the habit so it’ll be harder to break when the world returns to normal.
Read the lives of the saints
Is there any saint that you’ve heard about and wanted to learn more? Use this time to learn more. If you have no idea where to start, pick a book that has multiple saints listed, pick the saint of the day, or use Jen Fulwiler’s Random Saint Generator.
Celebrate saint feast days
There are days throughout the year that the church has home traditions around. We just passed a couple, St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s. Do a little research and find the next one to incorporate some of that day’s traditions.
Pray a novena to a saint that strikes your fancy. Some that are popular right now are St. Barbara (patron against sudden death), St. Roch (patron of plague victims), St. Aloysius Gonzaga (saint who was a victim of a plague himself), St. Blaise (patron against throat ailments), St. Francis Xavier (saint who has helped plague victims in the past) and St. Corona (a saint that has been popularly adopted for this particular hour of history).
Make a family and personal consecration
In many parts of the country, this will likely last another month. Perfect for the traditional thirty preparation for consecration to Mary or a family consecration to the Holy Family. Each consecration has daily readings, prayers or actions that one must make to prepare your heart for consecration day. Ideally, you will do the consecration on an important feast day, but they can be done at any time.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of things that can be done at home to keep your faith alive and to be close to God in the absence of the sacraments. Remember, historically numerous saints have lived most of their lives without the sacraments. Historically, and even now in some parts of the world, it is rare to see a priest. Use this time to remember that the Church has not always been so fortunate and indeed many Catholics are not as fortunate as we are even now.
This article was written by epic guest blogger Bethanie Ryan.