We continue the 52 week plan to grow in Catholic Manhood by becoming a better Catholic Son and Catholic Father. 

We begin reflecting upon the third major habit this week: Major Habit 3 – Live a Rich Liturgical Life which can be broken down into four smaller habits: 

  • Habit 10 – Center your life upon the Liturgy
  • Habit 11 – Consecrate yourself to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph
  • Habit 12 – Seek the Intercession of the Angels
  • Habit 13 – Be drawn into the Communion of the Saints

We turn our attention to Habit 10.  

Habit 10 Center your life upon the Liturgy

Center your life upon the Liturgy, actively engaging in the daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual Liturgy of the Holy Catholic Church.

What is “Liturgy”? – The word “liturgy” comes from a Greek word which means “public works.” Christ’s Holy Catholic Church defines the word “liturgy” as “the participation of the People of God in the ‘work of God’” (CCC 1069) which includes “the celebration of divine worship…proclamation of the Gospel…and active charity” (CCC 1070). 

For the purposes of Habit 10, the focus is on the celebration of divine worship.

Why is the divine worship of the Liturgy important? – Living a liturgical life is important because:

A Catholic man is justly grateful to God – The Virtue of Justice requires giving God His due and the main way a man can act justly towards God is to practice gratitude by offering God thanks and praise for the immeasurable blessings a man receives from God. The public worship of God in the Liturgy of the Church is the primary and necessary way for a man to give God thanks. 

A man receives divine life through the Sacraments – “The whole of the liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments” (CCC 1113).  The 7 Sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony) are holy mysteries of Christ (CCC 1114-116) through which “divine life is dispensed to us” in those who are properly disposed (CCC 1131). 

A man’s redemption is accomplished – It is in being formed and spiritually nourished by participating in the Liturgy (“public work”) of the Church, that a man’s “redemption is accomplished” (CCC 1068) by being drawn into and imitating Christ’s prayer to the Father through the Holy Spirit (CCC 1073).

A man is united with the Communion of Saints – By praying with the Liturgy of the Church, a man is strengthened and supernaturally united to Christ, faithful Catholics around the world and with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and all the Saints and Angels in Heaven (CCC 1088-1090). Through this liturgical communion, a man lives a devout Catholic life which forms him, allows him to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and helps him grow in happiness. 

What are the major parts of divine worship of the Liturgy? – The “public work” (e.g. Liturgy) of the divine worship of God can be understood as setting aside time (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, annually) to join in the prayer of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church:

Daily – There are a number of ways a man can participate in the daily divine worship with the Church:

  • Daily Mass – The Church offers the Sacrament of the Eucharist every day and encourages those who are able to attend daily Mass; while some are not ready or able to make this commitment, all are called to participate in praying with the Mass. This can be done by meditating upon the daily readings from the Mass; The Every Catholic Man Daily Gospel Devotional is designed to help a man meditate upon the daily Gospel from the Mass. 

  • Special prayers for days of the week – The Church suggests that the faithful offer special prayers each day of the week: Sunday: The Holy Trinity, Monday: The Holy Spirit, Tuesday: The Holy Angels, Wednesday: St. Joseph, Thursday: The Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, Friday: The Passion of our Lord,  Saturday: The Blessed Virgin Mary.

  • Liturgy of the HoursThe Liturgy of the Hours (also called The Divine Office) is an imitation of how Jesus and the Apostles prayed at different times during the day and in response to the exhortation to “pray constantly” (1 Thes 5:17). The Liturgy of the Hours is a form of prayer approved by the Church (CCC 1174-1177) with prayers and readings selected for various “hours” during the day (Morning, Mid-morning, Mid-day, Mid-afternoon, Evening and Night). There are approved books/apps for praying the full Liturgy of the Hours or shorter versions which are modified for the laity (Shorter Christian Prayer, Christian Prayer). As a substitute, some pray the Magnificat, a publication which includes morning and evening prayers and the readings from the Mass. 

  • Rosary – As an alternative for praying the Liturgy of the Hours for the laity (CCC 2678), the Rosary is a prayer which unites the Church by meditating upon the mysteries of the Life of Jesus Christ and honoring His Blessed Mother, the Mother of the Church. The faithful are encouraged (CCC 1674) to pray the Rosary daily/frequently and to practice praying a family Rosary.

  • Special Prayers for specific hours – Many Catholics follow pious practices which may include praying the Angelus (6 am, noon, 6 pm) and the Divine Mercy (3 pm). 

Weekly – The weekly participation of divine worship is centered on drawing closer to Jesus in the Sunday Mass and Adoration (See also Habit 5) and keeping the Sabbath: 

  • Sunday Mass – Drawing closer to Jesus in divine worship in the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Sunday Mass and other feast days is both an obligation (CCC 2180-2183, 2192) and a joy and blessing (CCC 1166-1167). The Eucharist is the source and summit of the faith (CCC 1324-1327) which is the preeminent liturgical celebration of the Church (CCC 1345-1390) which blesses a man with the many blessings and fruits of Holy Communion (CCC 1391-1401) and is a foretaste of the life of eternal happiness with God in Heaven (CCC 1402-1405).

  • Keeping the SabbathThe 3rd Commandment requires a man to set aside Sunday and keep it holy (CCC 2168-2173) by refraining from unnecessary work (CCC 2184-2188). By setting aside Sunday and focusing on resting and growing in holiness, a Catholic man participates in the public work of God, both individually and as a witness to others. 

  • Adoration – To extend worship of Christ beyond the Sunday Mass, men are called to the “work” of spending time (a holy hour)in adoration of Jesus Christ in the Tabernacle or in an Adoration Chapel at his parish; visiting the Blessed Sacrament  is “a proof of gratitude, an expression of love and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (CCC 1418) and further sanctifies the hours of a man’s life.  

Monthly – Receiving the Sacrament of Penance at least once and month and praying monthly intentions with the Church are important parts of the Liturgy of the Church: 

  • Sacrament of Penance – Covered more fully in Habit 4, it is a precept of the Church to receive the Sacrament of Penance at least once per year (CCC 2042); given the frequency of sins by both commission (sinful acts taken) and especially omission (holy acts not taken), men should strive to receive the Sacrament of Penance monthly, or even more frequently if needed. 

  • Prayers for each month – The Church urges each man to join in the public work of prayer through specific monthly intentions: January – The Holy Name and Childhood of Jesus, February – The Holy Family, March – St. Joseph, April – The Holy Eucharist, May – Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary, June – The Sacred Heart of Jesus, July – The Most Precious Blood of Jesus, August – The Immaculate Heart of Mary, September – Our Lady of Sorrows, October – The Most Holy Rosary (and Holy Angels), November – The Poor Souls in Purgatory, December – The Immaculate Conception.
  • Monthly Intentions of the Pope – The Pope also calls the faithful to pray in communion with His Holiness’ monthly intentions; these intentions are month-specific and are readily available online. 

Seasonally – The Church follows a published Liturgical calendar of seasons in which she fervently calls men to participate, including Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week and Easter (CCC 1168-1171).

Annually – The Church calls men to participate in the Liturgy “by keeping the memorials of the saints—first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints—on fixed days of the liturgical year” (CCC 1195). Men may participate by attending Mass on special feast days or remembering to offer prayers for the intercession of Saints on their feast days. 

This week’s questions – Here are some questions to meditate upon this week’s habit: 

Which of the various ways to enter more fully into the Liturgy of the Church on a daily and weekly basis appeal to me?

What special feasts are coming up in the next month which I can set aside time to meditate upon?

This week’s commitments Making a habit a reality requires commitment to concrete action. Here is this week’s challenge:

Commit to begin to pray some form of prayer daily for the next month (e.g. Morning or Evening Prayer, Rosary, Angelus, Divine Mercy, etc.)  to participate more fully in the Liturgy of the Church.

Don’t forget to pray with the ECM Daily Gospel Devotional each day.

Consider listening to the EveryCatholicMan.com Gospel Devotional Podcast to be better prepared for Sunday Mass.

Daily Prayer – During the week, pray this short prayer, or one like it, to more fully center your life upon the Liturgy:

Lord Jesus Christ, inspire me to more fervently desire to imitate Your practice of prayer by engaging more fully in the liturgy of the Church. Guide and sustain me to make a commitment to begin to pray more frequently with the Church on a daily and weekly basis. Amen.