What value is there to following the liturgical calendar? How does it impact us in ways that the civic calendar does not? Consider this passage from Sr. Joan Chittister's The Liturgical Year.
The liturgical year is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ. It proposes, year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until, eventually, we become what we say we are -- followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God. The liturgical year is an adventure in human growth, an exercise in spiritual ripening. (p. 6)
Sr. Joan notes that for many years this calendar was not -- for her -- much different than the civic calendar -- just dates and seasons and observances. It didn't have a spiritual impact on her life. My sense is that this is true for most of us. We follow the liturgical calendar almost by rote, doing the things it asks of us, but not paying much attention. She notes that what she discovered was that "it is possible to grow physically older by the day but, at the same time, stay spiritually juvenile, if our lives are not directed by a schema far beyond the march of our planet around the sun" (p. 6). How then might we heed the liturgical calendar so that we might grow increasingly mature -- spiritually?