“Only one thing is needful…” the focus is always on Jesus and learning to come close to Him.
Lately I have been getting quite a few views of the introductory pages of this site: on what is a Domestic Church and how to start building one. Worried that this can seem like a massive project, I want to encourage all of my readers to see it more like cultivating a climbing rose than constructing Westminster Cathedral.
Certainly there are thousands of ideas, traditions, and customs for the days, weeks, and seasons of the Church Year, but you don’t try to wedge them into your home life all at once! You pray, prioritize, and introduce the new routines and celebrations gradually.
- Get started immediately, but start small. Do one small thing right now. Add everyone’s Baptismal Days to your calendar, and then simply make an Angel Food cake for a special dessert those evenings. Or, plan to get a child a holy card or gift related to his/her birthday saint on each birthday. Or, focus on simply praying a special prayer together as a family in front of your home altar to the name saint on each child’s name day.
- Remember that with routine, these celebrations will become easier. As Catholic author Helen McLoughlin says, they are “ordinary household chores which can have supernatural significance.”
- Be creative. You will find you have far more time and ability than you think, if you are willing to dedicate it to God. My mother, incredibly creative and determined soul that she is, always takes stock of what she has around the house as the first step, counting each small thing as an asset. Then she brainstorms ways she can turn what she has into what she wants…E.g., “How can I quickly decorate this cake for a patron saint’s feast? Hmmm, what do I have…I know, I’ll laminate this paper holy card and fasten it to a popsicle stick, tie a matching ribbon around it, and have a cake topper!” Since the secret of creativity is blending interesting things into a fortuitous and unexpected combination, truly you will not have to look far–or work hard–to add many special details to the celebrations of your Domestic Church.
- Trust that since God created time, He has a way of “expanding it” for the needful things in a life of prayer. It happens–you’ll see.
St. Mary Magdalene knew that the one “needful thing” was spending time in the presence of Our Lord. As you cultivate your new prayers and traditions in your Domestic Church, you and your family will focus more and more intensely on living in His presence–the ultimate goal both in time here and now, and for all Eternity.