Editor’s note: Despite Jacob’s concern that this post comes across as a “shameless plug,” we’re absolutely thrilled to see Catholic businesses run by creative, faithful families succeed. We’re only too happy to share this information with you in the hopes that you find something of value here, and we applaud families like the Tates for doing what they can to make a positive impact by means of their work, and we hope you will too!
This is a piece I have wanted to write for about 4 months, but I was hesitant because it is basically impossible for it to come across as something other than a shameless plug. But Steve’s recent call for submissions encouraged me to write it anyway and reinforced the idea that this is the time to give Catholics something to physically cling to as we all battle despair and pray for an increase in faith. I hope it will be read in the spirit it is intended, which is to give ideas on how to incorporate your faith into your daily life and thereby live a more Catholic life and a more joyful life.
A book that has inspired my faith life and that of my family is “A History of the Church in 100 Objects” by Mike and Grace Aquilina. The basic premise is that Catholicism is a highly tangible religion: we have Jesus Christ physically present in our tabernacles. The reality of the Incarnation means that we experience God – quite literally – through objects in our world. The book takes you through 100 famous artifacts and details how they have shaped the Church and the faith of Her members. The authors state:
“Catholicism is indeed the religion of stuff. God makes himself known and accessible through material things, always accommodating himself to our condition. It is, after all, the condition he created for us – spiritual and material – and the condition he assumed for our salvation.”
This book is what inspired my wife to start her business of curating Catholic gift boxes, Pillar & Pearl. I will spare you every detail about the business in an effort to reduce the aforementioned shameless plugging, but I will share that the mission of the business is to spread religious objects far and wide and encourage people to live their faith every day in what they read, how they decorate their house, what they eat, and what they wear.
This year my wife partnered with Kendra Tierney, who wrote the wildly popular “Catholic All Year Compendium,” to create a service in which they send boxes that contain recipe cards, prayer cards, DIY crafts, beautiful prints, candles, and other more unique items to help you and your family celebrate each liturgical season and the feast days therein.
For example, we are packaging and shipping the first ordinary time box right now and it contains locusts and honey stix to eat on the feast of St. John the Baptist, postcards of the missions that St. Junipero Serra founded, a Spanish tortilla recipe card in honor of St. Josemaria Escriva, and beer coasters with quotes from St. Augustine.
I have been Catholic for about 14 years now, and it was not until I read these two books in the last 3 years that liturgical living really meant something practical to me. The Aquilinas detail the importance of objects of faith and Kendra Tierney gives invaluable and creative ideas to live out and celebrate your faith every day. I have always liked the idea of attaching prayer and acts of faith and celebration to small things we do every day, so the idea that you cook a meal that honors a saint on his feast day or let your kids play water balloons on Wet Monday is appealing to me and, more importantly, to my kids!
It can be difficult in a family economy to sit down every night and plan some sort of liturgically appropriate meal or event for the next day and it is even more difficult to come up with these ideas on your own. Luckily we have thousands of years of tradition to draw from!
I just wanted to share that there are resources out there to help you and your family find joy in your faith every single day and that being a traditional Catholic isn’t just about praying a rosary on your knees every night (though that is great too!). I strongly encourage everyone to check out the books that I mentioned at the very least and maybe look into the boxes Kendra and my wife have put together as well. Through our reading and writing at sites like OnePeterFive, the communities we build locally, and these great ideas on liturgical living I pray that we can maintain joy through hardship and find a million ways to be Catholic All Year.
Jake is a Catholic convert and is passionate about spreading orthodox Catholicism and the traditional Latin Mass through writing and through his work at Pillar & Pearl, the Catholic gift box company he runs with his wife, Emily. He graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. with a degree in cyber-security and computer science, but his passions are philosophy, Church history, and music. He resides in Northern Virginia with Emily and his two children. He can be reached at email@example.com or through his company’s website at https://www.pillarandpearl.com.