Fall is right around the corner! And I don’t know about you, but the beginning of the autumn season reminds me of a “mini” new year.
Of course, it feels like that because autumn ushers in a new academic year. What says “fresh start” better than opening a new notebook and writing in it with a newly-sharpened #2 pencil?
While we all enjoy the slower pace of summer days, by the end of August, most of us are ready to refresh our rhythms of life, renew our commitments, and return to a more orderly way of life.
Thankfully, the Church’s continuation of Ordinary Time into the autumn season helps us incorporate ways of keeping our spiritual routines steady and consistent. At the same time, a multitude of Catholic customs and traditions keep our faith life interesting and engaging.
Liturgical Living Ideas for the Fall
So how do we live liturgically during the ordinary days of autumn? Here are four ideas to help us fall into a beautiful rhythm of orderly, faith-filled autumn days.
1. Recommit to prayer.
If summer’s lack of routine caused your prayer time to fall by the wayside, now is the time to start anew!
Recommit to spending time with the Lord everyday. It’s okay if you have to start with a few minutes and grow from there. It is simply important to get back on track and work on consistency.
2. Learn something new.
There is something in the crisp autumn air that reminds us of our love of learning. Whether you are still in school or it has been years since you stepped foot in a classroom, God invites us to continuously learn, grow, and discover within our Catholic Faith.
So, this autumn dive into an aspect of Catholicism that you’re curious about: prayer, Scripture, the Saints, or Christian living.
Books I Recommend
Here are a few books to ignite your desire to learn more about the Faith:
Busy Lives & Restless Souls: How Prayer Can Help You Find the Missing Peace in Your Life by Becky Eldredge is for readers who feel like peace is missing in their lives. In this book, Becky unpacks the wisdom of St. Ignatius of Loyola in a fresh way and equips us with prayer tools that are accessible and practical within our daily routines.
Becoming Women of the Word: How to Answer God’s Call With Purpose and Joy by Sarah Christmyer breathes new life into the stories of Old Testament women and makes their lives surprisingly relatable. Stories from Sarah’s faith journey as well as family and friends demonstrate how the same principles that turned ordinary women into faith-filled heroines are also true for us today.
Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset presents a memorable portrait of one of the greatest female Saints of all time. Sigrid based this biography on primary sources, her experience living in Italy, and her personal understanding of the human heart.
3. Befriend the angels.
In the autumn season, we celebrate the angels with two special feast days.
The Feast of the Archangels is September 29. On this day, we honor three angels named in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
Michael is mentioned in Daniel 10:13-21 and 12:1, Jude 1:9, and Revelation 12:7-9 where he defeats Satan.
In Luke 1:26-38, Gabriel greets Mary with “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” and announces the birth of Jesus. Just prior to that, in Luke 1:8-20, Gabriel announces to Zachariah the birth of John the Baptist.
Lastly, Raphael is named in Tobit 12:15.
The Feast of the Guardian Angels is October 2. As Catholics, we believe that “beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (CCC 336).
This fall, take time to read the Church’s teachings about the angels found in the Catechism 325-354. Or, begin praying the Angel of God prayer on a daily basis. This simple prayer invites our own Guardian Angel to be with us throughout the day, and helps us imagine his presence, guidance, and protection in our lives:
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
4. Focus on gratitude.
As we move into the month of November, it is important to intentionally slow down. The world around us wants to jump ahead to Christmas, while we still have a few more weeks of Ordinary Time before Advent begins.
How to do it
One way to stay present to the moments of this beautiful time of year—the natural season of autumn and the liturgical season of Ordinary Time—is to focus on gratitude. Here are a few ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude this fall (and beyond):
Keep a list // Every day, jot down one, three, or five things you are grateful for. Keep them in your planner in order to cultivate a daily gratitude habit. St. Ignatius of Loyola encouraged reviewing each day with gratitude, as part of his daily examen prayer.
Say thank you // Send a thank-you note to someone who has blessed you practically or spiritually. Be specific in your words of gratitude.
Pray the Scriptures // Find a Bible verse that exudes gratitude to the Lord for who He is and all that He does. Write it out, and post it prominently in your home. Pray it daily and make it personal.
A Time of Renewal
After the relaxed season of summer, we enter fall ready to refresh our routines and return to a more consistent schedule. The steady pace of Ordinary Time helps us in our pursuit of orderly days. It is a wonderful time to continue growing a regular prayer practice. Fall’s ordinary days also invite us to learn something new about our Faith, deepen our relationship with the angels, and cultivate a greater sense of gratitude in our lives.
Of course, these ideas only begin the conversation of how to live liturgically during the ordinary days of autumn. Our rich Catholic Faith will always have us discovering new ways to live out our Faith in every season of life.
How do you practice liturgical living during the ordinary days of autumn?
This article first appeared on the Blessed Is She blog.