Three simple ways to live the liturgical year that fit into the life of a busy teacher.
By Rachel Gleeson
As teachers, we know we’re busy. Lesson planning, grading, keeping up on the latest classroom management tips, and meetings with parents all take time. Our teaching is hardly contained in 40 hours a week. So how do you live your faith and keep up a prayer life with such a schedule?
The liturgical year provides the rhythm that we teachers need. The ebb and flow of the seasons, the predictability of the prayers, and the pattern of feast days gives us a framework that is structured without being monotonous.
Liturgy of the Hours
These are the traditional prayers said throughout the Church at certain times of day. The Liturgy of the Hours unites us to the universal Church throughout the world and through time. The prayers go through a cycle and vary during certain liturgical seasons and on different feast days. The “hours,” as they’re called, include reciting psalms and other prayers. The structure may be a bit difficult at first but there are several websites and apps to help you get the hang of it.
Morning Prayer can be a great way to begin a full school day, or Evening Prayer can be said after the busyness dies down at the close of the day. I recommend just adding in one hour but saying it consistently. Select a time of day that works well for you and say the hour appropriate to that time of day. You may be surprised at how just 10 or 15 minutes can change your day.
Saint of the Day
There is a saint’s feast or another liturgical celebration on almost every day throughout the year. These holy men and women are role models and intercessors for us.
Consider taking a few moments each morning to read about the day’s saint. There are plenty of websites and even daily email subscriptions that will give you short or longer bios. Find what works well for you. The stories of the saints are enriching and inspiring. They show us what it means to live a life of virtue following after Christ. You’ll also find that most saints are patrons of at least one cause. By doing a few minutes of research each day you may find a saint for a particular cause that you would like to pray for.
These daily saint stories and your new-found patrons might even be something you wind up sharing with students each day or as the occasion arises. But ultimately, these are meant to be something to strengthen your own relationship with God.
The Church’s year is divided into various seasons each with their own devotion, focus, and character. Living out the liturgical seasons is an easy way to live out the faith each day. Each liturgical season has its colors and symbols. You may find it helpful to have decorations in your home or in a prayer corner to remind you of the liturgical season. Each season also calls to mind different aspects of Christ’s mission of salvation. Lent asks us to consider the saving power of Christ’s death, while Easter reminds us of the joy of his Resurrection. Taking time to pray with and reflect on the readings each Sunday or each day provides us an opportunity to enter into these mysteries with the rest of the Church.
Living the liturgical year doesn’t have to be complicated. These small, simple practices open up for us the beauty and richness that the Church has to offer. They are easy to include in the busy life of a teacher and with their structure and rhythm fit well in our lives. Living the Faith is not only possible as a teacher: it’s essential. Only when we rely on Christ will we be able to truly give our best to others.
Rachel Gleeson is a middle-school and high-school theology teacher and liturgy coordinator at a PreK-12 Catholic school in Wisconsin.
Photo copyright 2018 LisaJuliaPhotography.com. All rights reserved.