This Holiday season I have been all about tradition. I don’t really know what came over me… maybe its my age or the fact that my 88 year old Gram spent Christmas with us this year. Or, that the people who are normally in charge of these things weren’t able to physically carry them out this year. All I know is I wanted to make sure our family kept up with the traditions that we all grew up with. Most of them are food related. I baked our family’s Hungarian Christmas cookie recipes that everyone loves so much…Nut, poppy seed and apricot roll, snowballs, thumbprints, pecan tassies and the like and I loved every second of it. New Year’s day our tradition is to eat Hungarian Pork and Sauerkraut (Székely Gulyas.) We also have a tradition of taking blessed hay from the Nativity Scene at church and putting it in our wallets to assure we will not be broke in the new year! LOL! Its become so important to me that our traditions never fade away.
This got me to thinking about the church and tradition. The three pillars of the Church’s Authority are: 1. Sacred Scripture (The Holy Bible) 2. Sacred Tradition (Our History passed down through out the ages) 3. The Living Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church.)
The word “Tradition” comes from the Latin word ‘trado, tradere’ which means to hand over, to deliver, or to bequeath.
There are “big T” Traditions like in the 3 pillars above and there are “little t” traditions in Catholicism. Big T Traditions = The early church before the bible, Tradition that is closely connected with doctrine. Big T Tradition refers to Sacred Tradition. It is the teachings that were handed down by the apostles and are every bit as authoritative, binding, and infallible as Sacred Scripture. Together, they are the Word of God also known as the Deposit of Faith. Tradition complements rather than contradicts scripture. It is not subject to change, and is part of our deposit of faith.
“Little t” traditions are the ones I like the most. Here are some examples that I personally hold on to:
- Praying the Rosary
- Praying Novenas
- Wearing medals (I always wear a Saint Michael medal and a 4 Way medal – I NEVER take them off)
- Wearing scapulars (There is a scapular on my 4 way medal)
- Devotion to specific Saints (My faves include: St. Rita, St. Padre Pio, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Faustina, St. Anthony and of course our Mother Mary)
- Prayers such as “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” or “Daily Offering” that we were taught as kids.
- Keeping Holy Water in the House and using it – Every night we bless ourselves with Holy Water from Lourdes – thanks Lynn! I have been also known to regularly douse my home when it just feels “wrong” inside. I also douse my car before a long road trip.
- Making a small cross on our foreheads when we pass a Catholic Church
- Not taking our Christmas stuff down until after Epiphany
- Lighting the Advent Wreath
- Eating Fish on Fridays
- Lighting candles
Keep the traditions alive, they are so important! Our faith is so much like our family…in fact, we are a family, one family, one body in Christ! I love it! Makes me feel secure and loved.