Maria V. Gallagher reviews the newest Stay Connected Journal for Catholic Women, which focuses on living the liturgical year.
When I was growing up, my mother was the celebrator-in-chief. She reveled in adding seasonal elements to our home décor — everything from gold spray-painted Christmas angels to rainbow-colored birthday ribbons strewn about our modest two-bedroom apartment.
Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day were special favorites. Our Valentine’s Day soirée included dinner at a family steakhouse which included my all-time favorite dessert — flaming cherries jubilee! (It was as delicious as it sounds). St. Patrick’s Day meant green-frosted cupcakes and the singing of Irish lullabies. We were a family that believed in celebrating everything possible.
But it was not until I was an adult that I understood the concept of the liturgical year and celebrating accordingly. Sure, I would celebrate religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter with verve, but saint-inspired feast days were a foreign concept.
So I am especially grateful for the latest installment of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic women, which focuses on living out the liturgical year. Make Every Day Blessed by Jennifer Frost is a feast for both the eyes and the soul.
This attractive journal with its lively illustrations makes me want to observe the liturgical year in a whole new way. Jen even answers that age-old question: What do we do in Ordinary Time? Examples drawn from her own family life help to inspire and encourage those who might be creatively-challenged with regard to celebrations.
The journal gives an overview of the liturgical year, then delves into Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, the Triduum, Easter, and the aforementioned Ordinary Time. Jen wraps things up with a seasonal bow with a chapter on living liturgically.
As in the other installments of the Stay Connected journals, Make Every Day Blessed follows a user-friendly format which I have come to love. Each chapter includes an opening prayer, followed by a section entitled “On My Heart,” where you are free to write your thoughts for the day.
Jen then shares her thoughts, which are followed by an “Invitation to Ponder,” where she poses questions that are appropriate for both individual reflection and group discussion. The “Connecting to Scripture” section includes a series of thought-provoking Scripture passages to journal about.
Jen includes a Scriptural reflection, additional thought-provoking questions, and a closing prayer. Readers can journey through the lessons at their own pace, which made it particularly attractive to me.
I also especially appreciated this observation from Jen:
Just as for Mary and Joseph, it’s important that we share and pass our Catholic traditions down to our children. It’s a way to keep the truth alive, vibrant, and relevant in our daily lives.
Whether you’re searching for a good spiritual resource to help get you through Ordinary Time, or you would like to pick up a good journal to dive into this Advent, Make Every Day Blessed may be just what you need. It’s even more appetizing than flaming cherries jubilee, and its impact will last long past St. Valentine’s Day!
Copyright 2020 Maria V. Gallagher
About the Author
Maria V. Gallagher spends her days advocating for women, children, and families. She is the mother of a beautiful ballerina and a member of the worldwide Cursillo movement. In her spare time, Maria likes to blog, walk, sing, dance, and fill the room with laughter. Read her work at MariaVGallagher.com.