Choosing a word for the liturgical year is a powerful practice to nurture Christ-centered growth. The Church provides us with a common big picture goal - the universal call to holiness. While there are similarities for each person, God has a unique path for each individual. Praying through the liturgical year with a specific word in mind allows space to better recognize God's hand in our lives over time.
I began choosing a word for the year in 2010. As I became more aware of the capacity for the Catholic faith to be my main source of solid guidance for growth, I realized that it made sense to align the process to the liturgical year, rather than a calendar year. I consider the tone and rhythms of the liturgical seasons to set intentions and guide reflections.
When I began choosing a word for the year, I often had the expectation that intentionally choosing a focus would equate to immediate and concrete results or alignment with the word. Yet, I realized that in reality, often the process is much slower. Little by little a foundation is being laid for what I later identify as the big work or as finally making notable progress. Then, I look back and realize how that work was only possible because of the preparation from the slow alignment over time.
While it is important to start with Jesus and foster an on-going relationship to seek His guidance, God's plans also entail the gift of community. Coming in the form of Saints, faith-filled friendships, and spiritual directors, mentors and friends can be valuable resources. Through different seasons of life, I consider with whom I can authentically share my process of growth and the fruits of my prayer life. When these layers seems to be lacking, I bring it to prayer and then try to wait patiently for opportunities to arise. I remind myself that God is always sufficient, whether in a season of abundance with support or persevering through the ache of lacking solid community.
Starting in November of 2021, I will be releasing content as a resource to others who want to journey with a word for the liturgical year. Subscribe in order to receive updates.