That seeming paradox about human nature is my theme again today–examining the Spiritual Life in light of our physical bodies. Devoted to helping inspire a rebirth of Christian culture in the outside world, this blog’s purpose is to help each of you develop a Christian culture in your homes. Whether or not we actually have a Christian culture in our homes is extremely evident and apparent through use of our senses, so it’s time for a senses-based questionnaire!
To evaluate the presence (and quality, perhaps) of the Christian culture you have in your home, run an examination of how you use your senses in the service of spiritual things at home.
- Home altar–do you have one? Is it appealing, attractive, and well-cared for by all family members?
- Quality art–around your home, do you have pictures and statues that show forth some of the beauty of your Catholic faith?
- Flowers–do you use fresh flowers on your home altar? Especially important for Marian feast days, I cannot recommend flowers enough as adornments for your home altar!
- Changing displays–does your home altar have a changing display according to the season of the Liturgical Year? (During Lent, for example, I remove all images except a simple holy card of the Blessed Trinity, and take away all the flowers that I use during the rest of the year, leaving only one candle on the shelf that I light when I pray there).
- Sacred music recordings–do you play them around the home regularly? Music inspires, teaches, and shapes our souls. You’ll want the best in Catholic music to be influencing and shaping the hearts of your family members!
- Sacred music sheet music–can you sing some simple hymns and chants for the different seasons of the Liturgical Year as a family? This is usually as easy as finding a link to an internet video and singing along!
- Recited prayers–do you pray together aloud with family members? Do you have a repertoire of basic Catholic prayers memorized?
- Speech and language–can others tell by the words used in your home that your home is dedicated to striving for goodness and virtue (which is the service of God)? When you examine the words you use, what do they speak of?
- Distinctive foods that celebrate feasts–can your family members recognize the importance of a feast day by the specialness of a dish or meal shared at the dinner table? (Do you at least have a special dessert for Baptismal Anniversaries and Name Days?)
- Seasonal recipes–are there special flavors and foods that you use only during certain times of the Liturgical Year? (Increased seafood consumption during Lent is a staple in my family, for example!)
—Bonus, meta-questions >>
- Sacraments–is reception of (and gratitude for!) the Sacraments the focus of your family life?
- Celebration of the Sacred–if “we become what we celebrate,” what do you celebrate, prioritize, make important in you own life and in your family life? Look at your actions. Where do you spend your time, energy, and money as a family?
- Truth, goodness, and beauty in entertainment–when you seek recreation and entertainment, is it wholesome, good, and will it help you get to Heaven?
Praying and thinking about these questions will lead to two kinds of answers–what you need to do, and how to do what you need to do to make your home a center of Christian culture. The internet is overflowing with ideas from the past and the present to aid you. And if you have ideas or questions for me, please leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to give my perspective!