Sarah Damm explains how to incorporate the liturgical calendar’s monthly devotions into your prayer routine.
Still looking for a spiritual resolution for the New Year?
One that I am pursuing centers on the unique dedications the Catholic Church gives to each month of the liturgical year.
These dedications are linked to special prayers, specific feast days, and other Catholic devotions. These dedications are a beautiful way to focus our prayer time and grow in our faith.
January: Holy Name of Jesus
This idea for my spiritual new year’s resolution came to me while sitting before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration, on the 12th day of Christmas. In the quiet of the church, I knelt right in front of the creche, and I contemplated the posture of Mary, Joseph, the shepherd, and the magi. All of them were kneeling before and gazing at Baby Jesus. Their appearance was so reverent. And I wondered:
- Is this my posture, too, Lord?
- Is this how I look before You?
- When I am at home, running errands, or on social media, do I keep a disposition that Mary would keep?
I found my eyes moving back and forth between the Blessed Sacrament and the Baby Jesus. Then, I would look up at the Crucifix elevated above the altar. And the name of Jesus was just naturally on my lips.
How holy is His name! How glorious! How powerful! How comforting!
The name of Jesus is so beautiful. And yet, how often is it taken in vain, blasphemed, discarded, or forgotten?
At that moment, all I wanted to do was hold the Baby Jesus and kiss His sweet head! All I wanted to do was comfort the Crucified Christ. I prayed that my presence and prayers would make some small reparation for the sins against the Holy Name of Jesus.
I spent the remainder of my prayer time looking up Scripture passages that honor the name of Our Lord, which I plan on praying with for the remainder of January.
Monthly Dedications at a Glance
In a way, this is a pretty simple resolution. But someone could go really deep with it, if she desired. Also, for those who lose steam with New Year’s resolutions, this one changes every month, so it stays fresh and interesting.
This year, I am blessed to have a wall calendar and planner that highlight the liturgical themes for each month. So, they will remain at the forefront of my mind. If your calendar does not have the monthly dedications listed, simply add them to your own planning tool.
- January: Holy Name of Jesus
- February: Passion of Our Lord
- March: Joseph
- April: Holy Eucharist
- May: Blessed Mother
- June: Sacred Heart of Jesus
- July: Most Precious Blood of Jesus
- August: Immaculate Heart of Mary
- September: Our Lady of Sorrows
- October: Holy Rosary
- November: Holy Souls in Purgatory
- December: Immaculate Conception
A few days before a new month begins, I plan on looking into the dedication and deciding how to incorporate it into my prayer routine.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Learn the dedication’s history
- Discover a new Catholic custom
- Pray with Scripture verses that center on the monthly theme
- Read a spiritual book pertaining to the monthly dedication
- Decorate a prayer space with holy objects representative of the dedication
- Celebrate the feast day tied to the dedication
It’s Not Too Late to Begin
If the idea of incorporating the Church’s monthly devotions into your prayer routine is appealing to you, do not worry that it is already mid-January! There is still plenty of time to prayerfully contemplate the Holy Name of Jesus. And of course, there is an entire year ahead to grow in prayer and faith with the other 11 devotional themes.
Here are a few Scripture verses, centered on the Holy Name of Jesus, to pray with during the remainder of January:
- From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. (Psalm 113:3)
- For a child has been born for us, a son given to us … and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
- The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. (Luke 1:49)
- She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
- So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)
Do you incorporate the liturgical calendar’s monthly devotions into your prayer routine? If so, how?
Copyright 2021 Sarah Damm
Image: Unsplash (2020)