Liturgical Living for Beginners: Start with Food

liturgical living meal ideas

Who doesn’t love the idea of liturgical living—of bringing fun, beauty, and deliciousness into our homes according to the rhythms of the liturgical year? It stirs excitement, creativity, a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves and, most importantly, leads us into deeper comprehension of our Faith. That is the ideal.

Is Living Liturgically Overwhelming You?

The reality is that sometimes, adding one more thing to your daily to-do list can feel like a spiritual stumbling block. What started out as an attempt to grow spiritually can become a near occasion of sin due to the stress of bringing it all to fruition. After our momentary undoings, we then find ourselves feeling guilty, defeated, and wondering… “Is it even worth the effort?”

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this. Chances are, you may be comparing your efforts with those liturgical living experts who testify time and time again that it took them years of building to find what worked naturally and smoothly for their families.

Don’t compare and don’t fret. With time you’ll find what works best for your family, and here are some tips to help.

Keep It Simple

Most of us have meals that are easy family favorites. My go-to move for liturgical living for beginners is to take those meals I already make and see how I can connect them with the feast days of that week. Sometimes it’s clever (like grilling on the feast of St. Lawrence) and sometimes its basic (like eating a pasta dish on the feast of an Italian Saint). But it is always easy! Then, while we eat, we talk about the connection between the feast and the food. Whether it’s a short discussion or a long one doesn’t matter. We’ve “lived liturgically.”

Quick-Fixes for August Feasts

August 5 // Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major

When it comes to Marian feast days, I keep a recurring ingredient: blueberries. They can show up by themselves, or in a recipe, and we can have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Truly versatile and connected to Our Lady by their color.

August 6 // Transfiguration of Jesus

Anything with grapes!

August 8 // St. Dominic

The color white is one of the first things that comes to mind for this Saint because it is the color of the Dominican habit. Make meals that incorporate this color: yogurt at breakfast, creamy pasta at dinner. Maybe even some white wine.

August 9 // St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

I pay tribute to her German heritage with the bratwursts we have for dinner.

August 10 // St. Lawrence

Famous for his line, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side,” the Roman Saint was martyred by being burned alive over a grill. As long as the weather cooperates, we take whatever ingredients we have on hand and grill out.

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August 12 // St. Jane Francis de Chantal

A French Saint bodes French-inspired cuisine. Since their culinary arts are a tad more complex, I try to buy French baked goods to go with a meal. Try croissants, baguettes, eclairs, or macaroons!

August 13 // Sts. Pontian and Hippolytus

One was pope, the other was the antipope. Both died as martyrs on the island of Sardinia. If you’re a fan of sardines, this day would be especially appropriate to indulge in them. We’ll stick to a caesar salad, or maybe just include pretzels as a snack (since their relationship was a little salty before their reconciliation).

August 14 // St. Maximilian Kolbe

To celebrate this Polish martyr we turn to unstuffed cabbage rolls, a simpler version of the traditional but time-consuming Polish cabbage rolls. If it’s too hot for a heavy meal, try a cherry-dipped ice cream cone from your favorite local ice cream spot for dessert (cherry because its red, red because it’s the liturgical color associated with martyrs).

August 15 // The Assumption of Mary

Blueberry pancakes, or blueberry muffins, or blueberries in oatmeal, or in yogurt, or tossed in a salad, or baked in a pie…

August 16 // St. Stephen of Hungary

Paprika Chicken is fitting since the spice is quittisential in Hungarian cuisine.

August 19 // St. John Eudes

See suggestions for St. Jane Francis de Chantal

August 20 // St. Bernard of Claivaux

Another French Saint, see above!

August 21 // St. Pius X

An Italian pope! It’s hard to go wrong with Italian cuisine. But since he is best remembered as the pope who encouraged frequent reception of the Eucharist, perhaps a nice, freshly baked loaf of bread from the bakery would be appropriate.

August 22 // The Queenship of Mary

Something with blueberries!

August 23 // St. Rose of Lima

A Peruvian Saint, we draw inspiration from Peruvian cuisine, using ingredients such as quinoa and chili peppers with dinner.

August 24 // St. Bartholomew

Also known as Nathaneal, Bartholomew is the disciple whom Jesus saw under the fig tree. Thus, I might grab a package of fig newtons at the store that week. Or even the figs themselves if I’m feeling really adventurous!

August 27 // St. Monica

A dish with the use of any of the following spices (alone or combined), as these are commonly used in the region of Africa from which she hails: cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, paprika, coriander, saffron, mace, cloves, fennel, anise, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, fenugreek, black pepper.

August 28 // St. Augustine

Hailing from the same place as his mother, Monica, we simply eat leftovers from the night before.

August 29 // Passion of St. John the Baptist

As it is the feast which remembers the day this man was martyred, we make sure our main meal for the day contains red meat.

Liturgical Living for Beginners: Dine with the Saints

One of the traditions I brought into our marriage is the inclusion of a small prayer. At the end of saying grace before meals, we all say “Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us.” My husband loves it so much that he added more Saints to the mix, mostly family patrons, as well as whichever Saint he feels we need assistance from that day. Ever since I’ve gotten into liturgical living, he’s always sure to add the name of the Saint whose feast it is. The running joke is that we have to pray a litany before we can eat our meal. He always retorts, “You all can thank me when we get to Heaven.”

His cheeky response has given renewed focus to my liturgical living efforts. They are meant to lead me and my family deeper into worship and closer to Christ so that we can spend eternity with Him. Rather than allowing this to “increase the pressure,” I think about the simplicity of the narrow path, and wisdom of Mother Teresa who encouraged the world to do small things with great love.

It’s made all my liturgical living goals simpler and our home more focused on Heaven.

What are your best tips for liturgical living for beginners?

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Grace Bellon is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She’s a lover of bearded men, rich coffee, cheesy puns, cuddly doggies, and Catholicism. You can find out more about her here (warned ya she liked cheesy puns).

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