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Using Ritual Every Day
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first four paragraphs of "Using Ritual Every Day"A ritual is anything we do repeatedly or do in a particular manner. I can say it is my morning ritual to get a cup of coffee soon after waking up. I sorely miss it if I don't do it every morning. I can say that it has become a family ritual to eat our holiday meals at about 4 in the afternoon, after an afternoon of watching TV football.A religious ritual has these same elements, but adds the powerful dimension of symbol and meaning. Liturgy, for example, consists of many public rituals. This involves sacred times and spaces and objects. It uses gestures, movement, and a variety of means to involve our senses.Ritual can play a very important part in our growing ability to find intimacy with God in our everyday lives. This is too often an unexplored means. Too often the only religious ritual left in our daily lives is going to church on Sunday. After the reform of the Liturgy, in a way that brought more devotion back into our experience of public worship, many of the popular devotions, that had served to fill the void over the years, become less popular. More and more we are realizing that we have lost something in the process. Our lives seem more "secular" (from the Latin, saeculum, "the world").One way to restore some religious sense and feel to our lives is to add some ritual. Adding Ritual is a recognition that we are body-spirits and that "being spiritual" is not simply a matter of having spiritual minds. When we use our bodies in some ritual act, however small, and engage our imaginations, our emotions and our faith, the religious experience we have is not only deeper, it becomes an integrated part of our lives.