As a (mostly) unashamed lover of romantic comedies and teen movies, I have a particular affection for the frothy stories of the genre. When I watched the teen tearjerker Life in a Year (2020) late last year, I was actually quite stunned by what it had to say about love. Certainly, the movie has plenty of poorly-developed melodrama and contrived dialogue, and it celebrates several immoral behaviors as liberating exercises in truly “living,” but it also proffers what may well be some of the best images of love that I’ve ever seen in a teen movie. As the protagonist Daryn’s girlfriend Isabelle grows weaker and weaker from her cancer, Daryn puts aside his grand plans to secure acceptance into Harvard in order to be present to her in her final months. He shows a real tenderness as well as a remarkable maturity and a selfless commitment in his care for Isabelle. Conversely, albeit predictably, Isabelle, too, learns to give of herself by allowing herself to be loved.
Since I began seeking to live liturgically—that is, to observe the Church’s calendar and traditions in daily life—I have found that even small acts have introduced a new richness and joy into the rhythm of my days. There is a simple pleasure in anticipating upcoming feast days and other liturgical occasions and observing them in ways either light-hearted or prayerful. In recent years, I have celebrated the Feast of the Archangels (September 29) by preparing angel hair pasta to share with a dear friend, and I baked a honey pound cake for my co-workers on the Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist (August 29), the patron of my parish, who subsisted on locusts and wild honey in the desert (see Matthew 3:4). Marian feasts are always an occasion to dress in blue and wear a Miraculous Medal. The pleasure of brightening an otherwise monotonous week with such celebrations is accompanied, moreover, with the joy that comes from developing a deeper appreciation for the richness of Catholic tradition and entering more fully into the universality of the Church. Becoming more attuned to the feasts and seasons of the liturgical year has helped me to feel more united with Catholics across the globe and throughout the centuries.