Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Little Oratory Chapter Three Musings

For Fathers' Day my family celebrated Mass at the gorgeous Shrine of St Therese.


Mass is celebrated here every Sunday from May to September and the Lord blessed us with a beautiful day, so we went (and my husband could not get up for 8 am Mass at our church because of a 430 airport run with company)!

The girls ran the bells at the beginning of Mass...


And we were asked to take up the collection as a family and bring up the gifts, which was all so special and actually successful with littles (when the caretakers asked us to participate...I felt a sense of honor mixed with a fear of chaos...spilled money baskets on the floor...those kind of things).


After Mass the shrine caretaker, Jeannie, always has delicious homemade goodies in the gift shop....

More Happy

The shrine attracts many tourists (from the cruise ships) and visitors in the summer months. It truly is a holy place where one can enjoy the Lord's majesty. I let the children have their freedom. 

After indulging in our after Mass treats, I went with my four year old daughter down to the shore. There was a family enjoying the view and I overheard their conversation (I promise I wasn't snooping, they were just at the particular volume where I could hear as I walked by)

"Did you have a chance to go in the gift shop?"

"Yeah, there is a bunch of strange worship stuff."

"Oh, they ARE Catholics."


Hmmm....strange worship stuff.


I didn't actually think that our little prayer space would ever really get started. I had company from out of town the week I was reading Chapter 3 of the Little Oratory, and honestly, I didn't want to freak my guests out by building my prayer corner right in front of them. We didn't say the Liturgy of the Hours as a family just would have been...too strange.

I think that is the point though...that this book is trying to drive that we don't want our faith to be strange to our children...we want it to be...familiar.

And I DO want the courage Lord and the overwhelming LOVE for you to not CARE so much about what others think that our Catholic life has to be put on hold.


When I left off with chapter two, I had wanted our prayer space on this book shelf.  After reading chapter three, I decided that there wouldn't be much interaction with it so high. I was also thinking that my children enjoy the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atriums so much because they take ownership of the entire space. They may interact with the material and the beautiful items in the atrium, especially on the prayer table. 

So, I felt it should be the same way in our home so I thought that this space might do...

sorry...a little blurry
Included in chapter three is this awesome quote from Thoedore of Studite against the the heresy of iconoclasm (ninth century). 

Imprint Christ...onto your heart, where he (already) dwells; whether you read a book about him, or behold him in an image, may he inspire your thoughts, as you come to know him twofold through the twofold experience of your sense. Thus you will see with your eyes what you have learned through the words you have heard. He who in this way hears and sees will fill his entire being with the praise of God.

I have always believed that our Mother Church has been so good to her children's senses, but most particularly to the poor who are the little ones who can't "meditate" on the Word of God. So the WORD is brought to us in a DIFFERENT kind of beautiful art (aka...strange worship things).

Here it is so far.......(!)...

I need a crucifix under my Mother Teresa print, I just have a very small one that was my Poppi's that is next to our little rosary basket there. I would love to find a pretty linen instead of one with a moose.

But I remember this chapter simply saying..."Just start."

"Start with something, even if it seems too small, even if you can only find a bookcase or a sideboard or even a crate. Just start."

Even if it isn't with everything you want. :)

"That is the charm of the home altar or prayer table or icon corner. It is yours. It expresses your very own personality and aesthetic. Don't be afraid to explore what that means for you."

I proclaimed as we were driving to swim lessons this morning, "I can't believe I didn't yell at you guys to get ready! I'm so pumped!"

My eight year old chimed in, "Mommy it's probably because you and daddy are praying the Liturgy of the Hours."

Wow. :) 

Thank you for visiting! Please click here for more PHFR and here for more on the Little Oratory!


  1. Wow indeed! That little dialogue really impresses me with the admiration that our children just naturally have for what we do, right? They are so ready to be amazed. They don't think things are strange -- they get it when we sincerely try to follow the good, the true and the beautiful! Well done!

    1. Yes! My daughter kept me grounded by recognizing the grace of prayer! Thank you for reading Leila :)

  2. "Strange worship stuff" lol, I wonder what exactly that refers to! Beautiful smiling children. I think it is so good for kids to see us try hard, maybe fail, and apologize, keep trying. And seeing the results of prayer in our life! What a witness. nice job.

  3. I wondered too...but was most;y excited because...oooooo...that will work well into my next post, lol. I love that children are so blunt and honest and give credit where it is to be given :) thank you got reading Claire, God Bless

  4. I think you are right about the Liturgy of the Hours--it seems that things really do start to improve! I am barely praying them myself yet, but I have been trying, and I want to do better. Your oratory is off to a great start! I'm sure they will all be works in progress, but at least we've started! Your Madonna and Child is beautiful.