Our phones, right? We use them for all the things, but also maybe feel like we shouldn’t be? As much? Ever? I’m all for balance and temperance, but in our concern about the pitfalls of our phones, it’s easy to lose sight of the GOOD that’s to be had from those ubiquitous devices.
Here are five ways (plus a bonus) that my phone is helping me in my daily pursuit of a Caothic life amidst the bustle and distraction of kids and school and laundry and traffic.
1. The Angelus Alarm
I’ve been meaning to say the Angelus every day for the past five years or so, but since the church bells don’t toll the Angelus around my house, I remembered to do it not nearly as often as I wanted to. I’d see it was almost noon, and mean to do it in a sec, then look at the clock again and realize it was after one and we were late for naps, and blah, blah, blah.
That totally changed for me a couple months ago when I FINALLY got a smart phone. I have the alarm set for noon every single day. And, since we all know that the phone is in charge and makes you stop whatever else you were doing to attend to it when it makes a noise . . . now the kids and I have an almost perfect track record of saying the Angelus. Bonus, I have it set to sound like church bells. So fun.
2. The Personal Liturgical Year Calendar
The first way we started observing the liturgical year in our home was the Three Special Days. It’s been a devotion that has born so much fruit in our family. But HOW to remember three different days for eleven different people, in time to ask them what they’d like for dinner? iCal, that’s how. I set up a calendar and entered each family member’s birthday, baptism day, and name day, along with a reminder for two days ahead of time.
Once we were in the swing of that, I created another calendar with Holydays of Obligation, then Solemnities, then the fun feast days to which our family has a particular devotion, novenas we recite, etc., all in there recurring each year, with a reminder a couple days in advance.
It’s a bit time consuming on the front end, but we’ve ended up with a perfect for us personalized liturgical year calendar. There are liturgical calendar apps, but in my experience they all have too few or too many feast days on there, and none have my kids’ baptism dates.
3. Great Books (hands and eyes not required)
I used to read a TON, and I still love to read, but my season of life at the moment isn’t all that conducive to cozying up with a book. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have great literature and the writings of the saints in my life. I’ve listened to hours and hours of really inspiring and edifying books lately, while painting the house, washing the dishes, folding laundry, and driving. Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc was my sewing companion last month. I’ll even hit play on a random chapter of Introduction to the Devout Life or the Autobiography of Saint Therese while I’m getting dressed in the morning.
And speaking of dishes, I am a huge fan of the Fifteen Minute Rosary Companion podcast. A sit down family Rosary every night is our goal, but it’s not always possible. Sometimes we need to combine tasks, and a dish-doing race against the Fifteen Minute Rosary clock is an excellent challenge.
4. Inspiring Emails
My two favorite daily Catholic emails come from Blessed is She and Read the Catechism in a Year. Blessed is She sends a link to the daily Mass readings, plus a devotion written to help process and implement those readings (some of those devotions are written by me!). Read the Catechism in a Year is an excellent way to do just what the title says. I did it a few years back, and am planning to start it up again in 2018.
Realistically, I won’t get to them every single day, but SOME daily scripture and catechism reading is much MUCH better than none, and having them on my phone with a little unread blue dot or a little flagged orange dot is very motivational to me.
You can also sign up to receive new Catholic All Year blog posts via email, by subscribing over on the sidebar —> If you’re into that sort of thing.
5. Saintly Social Media
Social media has a reputation for being a combative and confrontational place. And I suppose that’s for good reason. But I’ve been able to make it a happy place for me by curating pretty carefully who I’m hanging out with on social media. I unfollow but stay friends with acquaintances and extended family members who stress me out, I join groups of like minded folks with whom I can share Catholic fun, and ask Catholic questions, and I follow the pages of devout Catholic blogs and websites. However, if I wanted to actually be able to see the posts of the pages I chose to follow, I had to set up my feed according to these instructions.
Bonus . . .
6. While You Were Looking
I found out about the existence of traditional Catholic monthly devotions as I was researching my upcoming liturgical year in the home book, and I really loved the idea of focusing on ONE PARTICULAR important aspect of our faith each month. It feels so much more doable than just knowing that there are all these important devotions out there and feeling like I should be mindful of all of them, and so not actually being mindful of any of them.
As I was trying to figure out how to remind myself of the devotion of the month, I had the idea to create graphic images for each one. I incorporated them into my Liturgical Year Wall Calendar, (available for purchase as a pdf download here, or as a physical calendar here, check for current coupon codes from the publisher here), but then I realized . . . what’s the first thing I look at when I wake up int he morning, and the last thing I look at before I go to sleep at night? It’s usually my phone. I can bemoan that, or I can make it work for me! So, I created lock screen and home screen images for each of the monthly devotions.
They are 16:9 aspect ration to fit most all smart phones. I’m on my second month of using them on my own phone and they really have helped quickly recollect my thoughts to God and the devotion of the month each of the many, many times each day that I peek at my phone.
The images are also high resolution enough to be cropped and printed as 5×7, 10×13, or 12×18 prints.
Every downloadable image in my Printable Prayers shop is on sale for only $3, today through cyber Monday. I really never ever do sales, so grab this one while it’s hot!
What apps or sites or practices do you use on your phone that are helping your faith life?