Good evening! I am linking up again for the summer online book club being hosted at In the Heart of My Home. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the second chapter of The Little Oratory: A Beginner's Guide to Praying in the Home, the chapter is "The Family and the Home."
In the spirit of chapter two, I made sure to clean my kitchen and sink and get my dishwasher going before I touched this keyboard. The littles are all tucked in bed and we also prayed evening prayer of the Divine Office, well, my husband and I did, but the littles did this...
Liturgy of the Hours high five (slap!) thanks to chapter one!
Time for sharing:
"A loving home of our own is a fundamental need embedded in our human nature."
This quote doesn't just say a home...it specifies a "loving" home.
This reminds me of a confession from roughly a year ago. I had just read the beautiful book Kisses From Katie. This is such a raw and inspiring book of a young twenty year old raising orphans in Uganda. After reading of the suffering and poverty of these people, I felt restless...I had a panic attack! This is it...I've got to figure out how to be a missionary in Uganda! My husband had nights of..."honey, we need to adopt children from Uganda!" My simple vocation just didn't seem...enough.
I'm not sure how it came to be that I was in the confessional talking about this, but I was basically seeking spiritual council on if I was being complacent as a Catholic for not doing more than "just being a mom at home."
I will never forget the almost stern look that came across my priest's face as he began to set me straight,
"When I do my ministry in the prisons, Stephanie, I witness grown men weeping.
They are weeping about the mothers and fathers who didn't love them.
They grieve the lack of love in the homes they came from.
Believe me, you are doing enough.
Go home and love your family."
Amen, our work in the home is ENOUGH.
I think this chapter makes this perfectly clear. I like how gentle it is...we don't just want to stay at home, we want to be MAKING a home. We want to do this well...not in a Martha Stewart, Pottery Barn catalog way...more like a...(whiff) ahhh....this home has the essence of our Catholic call of being open to life.
"When we enter people's homes, we catch a whiff of their essence, of who they are, and of the divine."
And I love this:
"...disorder is not to be confused with simple messiness
or normal signs of life, with children and family members in general who, taken up with their interest and vitality,
haven't gotten around to tidying up."
I love it. Love.
Thoughts on hospitality and the spirit of a particular home:
"The stranger goes away taking a piece of it in his heart, being affirmed in his own unique calling. A person doesn't lose his identity upon being welcomed into a real, loving home; rather, he finds something in himself he didn't know before. The experience of being in a happy home draws forth love in its inhabitants and in its guest."
I have to admit, I am constantly working on finding a balance between the intimacy of being our family, at leisure, and letting others "into the sanctuary of our home." Being so extroverted, there was a season of my life (that is cringe worthy to me now) where family wasn't enough, I always had to be entertaining. There is a lot of prayer and prioritizing our OWN family's needs before we let others in.
I really did enjoy the sections on beauty and educating ourselves in beauty.
"To be educated in beauty from an early age - with that education of love that the home offers - tends to incline us to serve God and our fellow man with love. The result for those individuals who follow this path of beauty is joy."
I appreciated the examples mentioned on ways to educate our family in beauty, and I felt a firming up of our role as mothers in the home when we were referred to as the "creators of the culture who will subsequently attract the unevangelized."
Wow, we truly are evangelizing, and as mentioned in chapter one of this book, it isn't in a "hand a pamphlet out" way. We spread the light of Christ throughout the world...through our homes, yes by being hospitable to a degree, but more through the life-giving culture we have saturated our children in. Building the culture takes background work, and I like that there were suggestions in chapter two for each room. The home is ordered to serve the PEOPLE who LIVE there.
Our homes say...
You are loved here. This flower basket is for you...
This statue of Mary is for you...she will always have open arms for you...
I will keep your toys in the family room, because I want you to be around...I enjoy the sound of you playing...
Yes, mama, this clean area above the kitchen sink is for you...because even YOU need to think of your own need for beauty and order...
OK! This was fun to participate again! At the end of chapter two we are eased into finding a spot for our little oratory.
I'm thinking of this...I cleared the books off...I already have a statue of Our Lady there...not sure though...
Thank you for joining! God Bless!