There are a lot of things I do throughout the day that I would not be doing if I was not Catholic. This isn’t to say that doing them makes me “more” Catholic in any way. Rather, these little devotions and nuances are small ways in which I live out my Faith, remembering specific teachings, praying for specific people, and receiving God’s grace to help me throughout my day.
Ways to “Catholicize” Your Day
Whether you’re a catechumen, a convert, a revert, or a practicing Catholic, we’re all striving to live out the Faith. Here are a few, small ways to do just that.
Make a Spiritual Communion
Whether you’re a daily Mass attendee, or you have daily obligations that conflict with the Mass schedule, there’s an amazing practice within the Church of making a spiritual communion at least once a day. Not only are an abundance of graces outpoured, Aquinas declared that it is the equivalent of “lovingly embracing [Jesus] as if we had actually received Him” (source). The devotion gives a greater awareness of God’s overall presence in our lives and increases our faith in the Eucharist. You can read more about it here.
Make the Sign of the Cross When You Drive by a Catholic Parish
This has nothing to do with the building and everything to do with Jesus. If it’s a Catholic church, then there is a tabernacle. And if there is a tabernacle, it is housing the Eucharist (on every day except Holy Saturday). My mom taught me this practice as a little girl. I still remember being out and about with her running errands, the van full of kids, all of us taking a moment to cross ourselves and say, “Hello dear Jesus! We love you!” every time we drove by the Eucharist. It certainly fostered a deeper understanding of the Real Presence, and it’s a practice I still do everyday.
Say a Hail Mary When You Hear a Siren
Chances are you’ve always said a prayer when witnessing a rescue team rush to the scene of an emergency, so why switch to a Hail Mary? Two reasons: the last stanza of the prayer requests her intercession “now and at the hour of our death” and often if there’s an emergency, someone’s life is on the line. Also, Jesus never denies a request from his mother (John 2:1-12). He loves you, too, but He has an incredible soft spot for His momma.
Find a Penny, Pick it Up
Another practice I learned from my mom is picking up spare change off the ground. Not for luck, not for pocket money, but because they say, “In God We Trust.” Obviously, this is not an official devotion of the Church, but it is one of the ways my mother honors the second commandment. It’s another practice I’ve carried into adulthood, but I’ve added an intention to my task. I do it as an act of reparation for all the times I’ve heard God’s name is taken in vain.
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Add a Personal Touch to the End of Grace before Meals
At the end of the traditional grace before meals, my dad’s family always said, “Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.” He and his brothers carried the tradition into their own families, as did their own children. In our family, we’ve added St. Joseph and St. Catherine of Siena to our family catalogue as well. On special feasts and holidays, we’ll throw in any additional saints that are relevant, making our own little litany of saints.
Pray When Passing a Cemetery
Compared to other Christian denominations, a unique aspect of the Catholic Faith is our belief in purgatory, a place of purification for souls who died in a state of grace but are not yet pure enough for Heaven. The suffering of these souls is partially alleviated by prayers. Since graveyards are a very concrete reminder of our dearly departed, it is customary to pray, “May the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace. Amen” when driving past one. You could also memorize the prayer of St. Gertrude, which bears promises of releasing souls from purgatory each time it is said, or you could simply make the Sign of the Cross.
At Least Once a Day, Pray a Hail Mary
First, Jesus made a lot of effort in the midst of His death to give her to us as our own mother. This is because her help is invaluable. Second, every single canonized Saint had a devotion to Our Lady. If you look up Saint quotes about Mary, every single one of them attributes their growth in holiness to her assistance. So, if you want to grow in holiness and grow in intimacy with Christ, develop a relationship with Mary. There are so many ways to do this: consecration, the Rosary, a daily decade, or one heartfelt prayer to her everyday. Just do it. She won’t let you down.
Pray to St. Joseph Before Beginning Work
St. Joseph is the patron Saint of workers. Invoking his intercession is meant to help you through daily difficulties. It also helps you bring dignity and virtue to your place of work. You could use the traditional prayer, or create a spontaneous one of your own. You could also call upon the patron Saint of your particular field of work at this time as well.
Bless Yourself with Holy Water
Holy water is a sacramental to remind you of your baptism, your baptismal promises, and also serves as a blessing that can help protect you from evil. If you’d like, you can purchase a holy water font for your home, or simple keep the sacramental in the little plastic bottle (my personal preference so that it doesn’t evaporate). Holy Water is available at your local parish. You could also reserve holy water from the excess if you had a priest over to bless your home. If you’re preparing for baptism this coming Easter, ask your RCIA coordinator if you’d be able to take Holy Water from directly from the font in which you were baptized after Easter Vigil.
Pray the Angelus
The Angelus is a beautiful prayer of the Church that prompts the faithful to recall Mary’s fiat and hopefully prompts us to say “yes” to God’s will for our own lives as well. The full practice is to pray the Angelus at 6 a.m., 12 p.m., and 6 p.m., but it is also acceptable to pray it once a day at noon. You can set a reminder on your phone, or simply use it as part of your prayer before meals at lunch time.
Learn more about Saints and the Faith by celebrating Catholic feasts all year round in rhythm with the liturgy of the Church. Through cooking, prayers, manner of dress, and special tasks, you can “bring” the celebration of the liturgy into your home and heart each day. There are multiple shops, blogs, and books with explanations and ideas for anyone to implement, many of which are written by some of our own writers in Blessed is She community!
There’s a Wideness to Growth in Holiness
There is no cookie-cutter which molds us into sainthood. Each of us is unique in our design and unique in our mission. Some of these devotions may help you, and some of them may not. And that’s ok. In fact, that is the beauty of our Faith. Our Church spreads not only from east to west, but also across time and century. No one’s relationship with Christ is the same, and no one’s cross is the same, either. Thus, the way we love—and live—our Faith is beautifully unique. And that is by His design.
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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).