“Before all else Catholicism is a life, a life that moves through cycles and seasons. That’s why this book, this field guide, is divided into sections organized around these times and seasons – of the Church year, of human life – and the elements – smells and bells, religious signs and symbols, fasting and feasting, gathering and processing, baptizing and burying – that marks us as Catholics.” – Melissa Musick
As a Catholic, I am always eager to learn about my faith. While some books are absolute gems and filled with rich details about Catholic teachings, others are dry, dull, and offer nothing new. The Catholic Catalogue definitely falls into the former category, and is not only delightfully fresh with illustrations and great, approachable voice, but it offers a great detail of information even for those of us who are “cradle Catholics.”
The book is divided up into sections based on the Catholic calendar, traditions and customs, and the different seasons of life. Melissa Musick and Anna Keating both provide the same voice and friendliness that is found on their blog of the same name. There are details about praying, Lent, All Souls Day, baptism, marriage, even how to celebrate feast days. When reading the book, I honestly felt like I was having a great conversation with some wise Catholic friends. The layout, adorable illustrations, and the insight about everything from”Keeping Friday, Saturday and Sunday” to making an Advent wreath, this book is sure to become a favorite of mine. Plus, it is such a winner that I plan to get a few copies of The Catholic Catalogue for birthday and Easter gifts.
From the Keeping Lent chapter:
Prayer can be done at all times, when running, commuting to work, or before sleep. Prayer is an opportunity to examine one’s life and enter into the mystery of God. In prayer we ask God to show us what delights Him about our lives and also what grieves Him, so that we might make amends and ask for grace. Some people commit to Evening Prayer or Vespers, after dinner in Lent. They use their candle-holder an candles from Advent, but without the greenery and light one candle each week.
Others pray and meditate on the daily Mass readings during Lent. Doing so helps them enter into the story of salvation history. Get a good book of Bible stories and read them to your children along with the lectionary, matching the stories in the child’s book to the ones you are reading. You can also get the readings of the day on your smartphone with the Laudate app (unless, of course, you’re fasting from using your phone).
All Catholics are asked to make a confession and pray a sincere act of contrition at some point during Lent.
You might also consider going to a Friday evening Stations of the Cross service at your church, or going on retreat. Many parishes offer retreats during Lent for busy people.