At Home With God


#1

One of the most interesting phenomena of modern society is the fact that everyone wants to own a beautiful home. Everyone wants to be at home. But no one stays home long enough to enjoy it. We run from one activity to another. When we can’t find something to do, we create it. The biggest question that we answer in this thread is, Why can’t we find God at home?

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#2

That is exactly what I am actually working on.

I came to a point in my life over the last few years where I didn’t like who I had become. In fact after having two children, I think I forgot who I was because I was always so busy goign from one thing to the next, never having time with my family. We were always busy ( I was working night shift 4 days a week, during the week), my husband worked 45-60hs a week and went to school online full time, We’d be quarreling a lot, not spending enough time with each other or our oldest. God was very absent from our home and it was very evident. Our house also started getting into disrepair and we started some projects to make the house more pretty but this too has become very stressful and burdensome.

So I decided that it was time for me to bring some love back into our poor little home needing of repair (metaphorically speaking)

Since I started practicing my faith again, I see my Christian family in the same way I run my own family and home. I have a Holy Father, Holy Mother, brothers, sisters, a Lord whom I want to love and serve. When I look at my Church family this way, it makes me appreciate my husband and how hard he works and loves us even more and it makes me appreciate our Lord even more and how hard he worked to save us. My husband isn’t very religious, but I see Jesus’s suffering and passion in his eyes when he comes home from work (he’s a retail manager, he works long hours, esp. at Christmas time and comes home physically and mentally beat up everyday. No doubt being a store manager is almost like being whipped everyday, you come home beat up inside and out). Makes me want to run to him, sit him by the fire and care his wounds.

We slowed down now, I changed my schedule and I’m at home during the week when my husband needs me. We do not stress so much about how how pretty our house doesn’t look, but we do focus on love and compassion in our family.

I think when we focus too much on the material aspect of making our home physically beautiful we loose sight of making our home spiritually beautiful so its warm and cozy. The kind your kids will want to always come back to, where they feel safe and loved.

We don’t spend a lot of time outside of job and kids school with different activities. We don’t even go to the movies anymore, or shopping, or the mall, or even downtown. Why? I love my home its the perfect place to be. In fact, getting our kids ready for an outing to me is very stressful, I’d rather have a carpet picnick or pop open a tent in the living room and roast marshmellows in our fireplace. Our oldest goes to school, and only is in T-Ball for just six weeks. We do not believe in overburdening our kids with too many activities and we believe in eating dinner as a family together at the table as much as possible. We also have family night once a week and mommy and daddy night and everyday we play a lot with our kids.

We just LOVE being at home, although, we do complain quite a bit how little time my husband and I have and how much we’d love to get away, but home is still where our heart is.

After we get some projects done, I am going to do what my mom and dad did for our first home, we are going to ask our Priest to bless it. I would encourage all families to do it to bring God back into our homes because our kids need it so desperatly. They need us parents to bring God back so we can teach them about our future home in heaven in our homes right now. That this house is like “family boot camp”. The real home comes after you graduate.
:thumbsup:


#3

This is the same thing I am working on.

Hi Joannazenobia, your story is similar to mine.
I truly believe in the saying “Home is were the heart is.” If our hearts are in God and God is in our hearts then He is in our home.

When you speak of your husband I can totally relate.

I love the way you have included the people from church as part of our family. I look at it the same way. I really do love them like family and I thank God for getting me to a parish were others look at it the same way.

The one thing I am beginning to understand is how vast our true home is. If our heart is in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ is in our hearts and we see Jesus Christ in everyone then I am beginning to see how we are all truly brothers and sisters in our true home of Jesus Christ.

I hope and pray this makes sense


#4

Though I’m a mendicant and not a monk, I have always been impressed by Benedict’s concept of the City of God. When Benedict created his first monasteries, one of his great concerns was stability. The Catholic community of the time was very transient and life was very hectic. Men and women wanted to find God and to live in God’s presence. But they had to leave the urban areas to create sacred spaces where God could speak in the silence.

Originally, the monks were to be models for the entire Church of how to live a life in God’s presence where you worked and prayed in your home and around your home. You reduced the hectic pace of life so that you could make time for God during your day. Many people actually paid attention to the monks way of life and adapted it to their circumstances. They raised children, held down jobs or ran businesses, but they had sacred space during their day This was a space during the busy schedule of the day, where people stopped and prayed or simply listened to the voice of God. It was usually in their homes. There as a time of the day in the home that was reserved for quiet.

As Catholics became more materialistic and more politically involved, they began to depend on the monks and cloistered nuns to do the praying for them. Gradually, our Catholic anscestors got so far from the idea of quiet in the home and prayer in the home that it disappeared. During the early 20th century we saw the last vestiges of this noble tradition, when the Catholic family gathered to pray the family rosary.

Today the average family can’t even find time to say grace at meals, because so many families do not have a family meal. Everyone is on a different schedule and mothers are usually stuck with coordinating everyone’s schedule and providing taxi service. We have exagerated the idea of extracurricular activities for children to the point that children are busier than Wall Street executives. In other words, our priorities are messed up. A ballet lesson has become more important that praying with the family.

Even our idea of interior decorating has been affected by the age of secularism and consumerism. I don’t say this lightly. I’m not a staunch traditionalsit who thows out these words, because they sound Catholic. But I am deeply concerned about today’s family and today’s home. We walk into Catholic homes and have no idea that we’re in a Catholic home.

I was most impressed when I visited a Muslim family that lives in the same complex as our friars. They stop for prayer, several times a day. The you look around their shelves in the living room you see signs of Islam. There is a copy of the Q’ran proudly displayed in a place of prominence on the bookshelf. And the bookshelp is in a place that is very visible to visitors. I even saw some very beautiful prints on the walls of very beautiful mosques. They were elegantly framed so as to grace the living room and at the same time they reminded visitors that this is a Muslim home.

When was the last time that we saw a bible proudly displayed on a shelf in a Catholic home? Where are the crucifixes in Catholic homes? Where are the beautiful Christian works of ar? If anything, Catholicism is one of the most wealthiest religions in art. We have preserved art for centuries. But we don’t often find copies of fine Christian art in Catholic homes. There is no spiritual focal point in most Catholic homes.

Spiritual focal points in a room help us take a deep breadth and remember that God is present. I’m always amazed at how many Catholics get into the whole Asian art of calm, when we have our own. I really believe that one reason that we’re not drawn to spend more time at home with family is because our homes are too busy. There is too much junk in our homes, too much noise and too much going on a the same time. The human mind becomes saturated to the point that we want to stay at the office, because we can concentrate better than we can at home.

Maybe we need to look at St. Benedict again and ask outselves, how we can bring stability back into our homes so that our children and spouses will feel peace. If the home is not the primary church, the larger Church becomes just a concpet, rather than a real experience that we feel.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#5

Hi Br. JR,

In my opinion, technology has a lot to do with the lack of God and prayer. With all those gizmos out there, the family is in danger of losing focus in God.

Because of technology, life, too, has become very complex these days. Time seems to go so fast, that people think that 24 hours a day seems not enough. Just think, everyday, because of technology, you have to beat the endless deadlines. Because of that, people have less time for their family and for God. I just pains me when some people say that work is prayer, then later on, the concept of prayer in work is lost - and they end up being workaholics (something common with software developers and tekkies!).

What if one day, the ‘technology plug’ were pulled out of its socket? We would have all the time in the world, but would we have time for God? Would we still recognize His voice when we are surrounded by silence and the useless junk we have accumulated because of technology?

In Christ,
albertziggy:rolleyes:


#6

Very well stated, Br. JR. Thank you for presenting this thought.

It is so true. I think we are all (or have been) guilty, to a more or less degree… and various points in our lives, of this.

This life is transitory. We are here for such a brief time. And yet, we worry. We fret. We hoard our goods. We tell Our Lord… “Jesus, I trust in You”… and then, the first moment something happens… we stumble. I know I do, for sure. :sad_yes:

I think working on being “At Home With God”… is certainly the answer. It’s a way of saying… “Put God FIRST”. When we do this, all good things follow… no matter what our life circumstances.

Thank you so much, for the gentle (but firm) reminder. God bless you.


#7

Yesterday, we celebrated the Solemnity of All Saints. I’m always impressed by so many of the saints. I do enjoy reading the saints very much, especially the married saints. You take a saint like Elizabeth Ann Seton and you’re blown away. She was a mother, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, and religious sister. What most impresses me about Mother Seton is her love of life. She was not a sour puss. She was energetic, artistic, creative, but she found a way of introducing God into her home. She was very devoted to prayer, to reading of the scriptures and to service to others. These elements were part of her life, long before she ever founded the Sisters of Charity. In fact, it was through her perseverance in her life of faith lived in her own home that Christ spoke to her. Many people think that you have to be in a convent to have a home dedicated to Christ. This is not true. Mother Seton’s religious vocation came from her own home life. In fact, she never founded a convent. The Sisters of Charity did not have convents. They still do not live in convents. Mother Seton did not want a Conventual life for herself, her children and her sisters. She wanted a life consecrated to Christ and a home where Christ was very present. He life as a Sister of Charity was an example to her children. In fact, one of her daughters joined the Sisters of Charity and her other daughter joined the Sisters of Mercy. Her grandson became a priest and later a bishop.

When Christ is invited into the home we gets creative. No one ever heard of a “nun” with children. But God did. After Elizabeth’s husband, William, died, she continued to bring Christ into her life and into her home. And it was through her life of prayer, service and the way that she gave witness to her children that Christ called her to a deeper consecration as a woman religious. But this call came within the call to be a mother. During her entire life she would always say, “I am mother first.” Elizabeth never gave up being a mother. She was not afraid of being a mother and a Catholic. They were inseparable for her.

Today we have become too lax on this. We have abdicated holiness to religious men, religious women and to priests. That’s irresponsible behavior. As Elizabeth said, “I am mother first.” But she was a Catholic mother and there was no doubt about it in the mind of her children, her family and her friends. Even her Protestant friends from her former days as an Episcopalian saw her as a Catholic mother. My message is not just to women, but to men as well.

I’m a father of two and a religious man. Before I became a religious I was married and the father of three children. My wife and one son died. I raised two children by myself. But there was never any doubt in the mind of my children, who are now adults, that their dad was Catholic and had a strong Franciscan spirituality. We had Franciscans at our home. We had statues of St. Francis, crucifixes, bibles, mass, prayer at meals and other forms of prayer in our home. By the time that I made vows as a Franciscan brother, my children were adults. The youngest was 20. But he served as my “best man” when I made vows. I say best man, because you must have two witnesses at your profession mass. Usually they are two religious who stand by you as you profess your vows to the superior before the community and before the priest who is celebrating the mass. Canon law does not say that the witnesses have to be religious. They have to be Catholic. So I asked my superior for permission to have my 20-year old son as one of my witnesses. I stood there and held my hand as I made vows. This would not have been possible had we not been raised in a Catholic home where God was very visible.

We need to bring Christ back into our Catholic homes and we have to make sacred space for him. There is no way that we can find him outside of the home, if we do not find him in the home first.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#8

Family prayers at home is essential in a christian life. As is written, ‘teach a child the way to go and he will never depart from it’ kids pick up a lot from their parents and surroundings. Of course, you will get a stray kid that is bent on being hard nut, otherwise, generally, the way kids are brought up has a great impact on them when they grow. This will happen if parents will take a break from the wild goose chase we find ourselves in now, take a step back and set our priorities right, placing God in the centre of affairs.

I have had five girls ( four now) and we gather in the hall to recite the divine mercy chaplet every saturday at 3pm. This became a habit after my franciscan brother/priest ( whom I have told you about) started sending me a call to prayer most afternoons at 3pm. One saturday, my family was around me and I gathered them to join and it took off from there. Now you should see my two and a half yr old holding a rosary and muddling and mixing the beginning with the response. Its fun really.

So, I will call on parents to give it a serious thought and take a stand.

odopa.


#9

Dear Br. Jr,

Thank you for sharing the story of one of my favorite saints. Another saint I find very inspiring for our day and age is St. Monica.

I too believe that we should surround ourselves with things that will help us keep focus on what is truly important. But, too many times I have met people who though they pray all the time and have many religious statues and books to remind themselves of what their focus should be are actually “spiritually dead.” They become so focused on the external relationship with God that they seem to have almost completely forgotten about the internal relationship with God. My father used to say that “The man who went to church every Sunday went to hell for what he did every Monday.” I have come to understand that reciting well written prayers, reading good inspirational books and having statues and Icons displayed is not enough. I truly believe that if you have Jesus Christ in your heart you will naturally want to surround yourself with things that will keep you ever aware of His presence and you will naturally find yourself wanting to be with Him and to continually carry on a dialog with Him. I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe we need more than just repetitious prayers, good books, and statues to get God into our home. We have to let Him into our hearts first. We have to live and breath what He teaches us.

I told my daughter just this morning as she stuck her tung out at her brother, “you just stuck your tung out at God.” (I have taught them from the beginning that God is in them and they needed to treat each other as they would treat God.) The shame she felt was clearly written on her face. I believe that when we learn to live knowing that God is ever present and we act accordingly this is how we learn to make our very lives our very prayer to God. No matter how much technology or noise there is in the world. You will truly find Him at every turn you take.

I hope and pray this makes sense and as always please correct or add anything that would help me to understand this better.


#10

Hiyas Br JR:)

Just a note to tell you Kids are watching AND reading AND learning:D it’s an esoteric joke between the good Brother and me :slight_smile: ].

Thank you for teaching us.
~huggers~


#11

I have a personal saying that comes from my own experience of being a dad and a religious. “Convert the parent and the kids will follow.”

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#12

I have no problem finding God any where! :p:D

But that’s just me, and I’m perfect.


#13

It’s not about finding God everywhere. The thread is about building the domestic church.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#14

I am like Zundra. I find God everywhere.
I believe that you should not have used the word everyone.


#15

Amen, my little friend! :smiley:


#16

There are some people who have mastered the art of finding a time and a place for praying, meditating, spending quality time with their family. I think those who have posted on this thread have hit on several key points.

[quote=JReducation]I really believe that one reason that we’re not drawn to spend more time at home with family is because our homes are too busy. There is too much junk in our homes, too much noise and too much going on at the same time.
[/quote]

Mother Teresa said:
“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Is there a quiet place in your home? A room without TV’s, computers, phones and other electronic distractions? There should be. In my former home, I was able to create a space in the basement rec room that I could retreat to with a book. In my current home, there was initially a disagreement over whether we needed a TV in both the living room and the family room. I wanted the living room to be “TV free”; but I lost that argument. However, I can still be in there by myself and leave it off. TV’s can be turned off!

Which brings me to:

[quote=albertziggy]What if one day, the ‘technology plug’ were pulled out of its socket?
[/quote]

Yes, what if we set aside a time each week for the entire family to be together with no electronic distractions There could be a spiritual time, there could be a family game time, there could be a reading and quiet play time. Some families that I know actually do this.

[quote=Joannazenobia]We lose sight of making our home spiritually beautiful so its warm and cozy. The kind your kids will want to always come back to, where they feel safe and loved.
[/quote]

You don’t need a home that could grace the cover of a home decorating magazine; you need a family friendly home, perhaps a little worn, perhaps a little cluttered, not from neglect or untidiness, but from living and loving. Where our family and their friends will feel welcome. And always prominently included in our family should be our Lord:

[quote=JReducation]We need to bring Christ back into our Catholic homes and we have to make sacred space for him. There is no way that we can find him outside of the home, if we do not find him in the home first.
[/quote]

Mother Teresa said something very similar:
"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home."

Finally, although having faith reminders in the home, and praying before meals and other times is good, kids can see through someone who is going through the motions. It must be real and sincere for it to really work.

[quote=SimpleSoul]I have met people who though they pray all the time and have many religious statues and books…are actually “spiritually dead.” They become so focused on the external relationship with God that they seem to have almost completely forgotten about the internal relationship with God.
[/quote]

Too often we measure our spirituality by the externals, by how much we pray or how often we are in church. The true measure is the quality of the relationship between our souls and the Lord.

Almost everything begins in the home, and how we live as a family will have a great impact on the lives our children will lead as adults with their own children.


#17

JR, I just wanted to say that I hope you can give your posts on this subject as a sermon if you preach anywhere. :slight_smile:


#18

I is a sermon too.


#19

I do Respect Life Ministry among youth and adults and I do preach this all the time. I have a fundamental belief that is not really my own, but I borrowed it from another rule that St. Francis wrote for the Secular Franciscans. Francis demanded that the Secular brothers and sisters be truly Catholic. Their homes should reflect their Catholic faith, in their external simplicity, their life of prayer, their love and charity toward each other, their on-goiong life of penance and conversion, their charity toward the poor, and their opposition to political and social movements that were in conflict with the Catholic faith. After reading this I came away wiht a simple statement that I always share when I preach on the Gospel of Life.

The Gospel of Life begins in the same sacred space where life itself begins, in the intimate relationship between parents and their children. Unless the Gospel of Life is present in our homes, we cannot carry it out to the streets. The Gospel of Life is not for one member of the family, but for the entire family. It is the moral duty of the one family member who has discovered the Gospel to evangelize his family first.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#20

I highlighted the middle part of your statement. Either or both sentences should be posted in a prominent place in every Christian home, to remind us every day of the very beautiful truths you have expressed.

Of all those who post on this forum, your light is certainly one of the brightest and clearest.

Thank you and bless you, Brother JR.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.