Friday 9th October 2015

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . Becoming A Domestic Church

July 1, 2014 Featured Today No Comments


The Little Oratory, by David Clayton and Leila Marie Lawler (Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, NH 2014), 186 pp. $19.95. Available through; 1-800-888-9344.

While everyone knows the difference between a house and a home, not everyone recognizes the difference between a home and a “domestic church.” Because the Christian faith affects all of life and needs to be lived at home and at work as well as on Sundays in church, the life of Catholic faith grows through a special place in the home the authors define as a “little oratory” or sacred space — a prayer table resembling a home altar adorned with icons, pictures of saints, holy cards, Bible, prayer book, candles, and beautiful tablecloth to provide a daily reminder of God’s ever-present reality, love, familiarity, and nearness.
Families, designed for the nourishing and communicating of love to all their members and visitors, resemble “a lamp lit, quietly proclaiming the presence of the hidden sacrament of love to its inhabitants and to others.” The little oratory of the home compares to this lamp that illumines God’s love for each person and that radiates the love of neighbor nurtured in the heart and in the home to welcome visitors with hospitality. This sacred space makes God’s love as intimate as the bond between family members, the divine life of the Trinity reflected in the mutual giving and receiving of love in the family.
The book inspires the heart and moves the will to add this dimension to the home by capturing the element of beauty which this touch adds to human life. With simple, practical suggestions, the authors show the way to enrich daily life by adorning the home in ways that the Church, the Bride of Christ, also makes herself a place of holiness.
However small, humble, or modest, a home can reflect beauty and attract with the addition of a home altar. With the art of “holy decorating” versed in the elements of beauty (proportion, neatness, symmetry), the oratory requires simple furnishings: a table or shelf, an attractive tablecloth that can alter with the seasons, a crucifix, a picture of the Sacred Heart, a painting of the Holy Mother, an icon, candles, a Bible, a prayer book, a prayer-intention journal, a rosary, and a vase of flowers suffice to create this holy space. Like the Church, the little oratory too varies its colors and adornments with the liturgical and natural seasons.
The book also encourages praying the Liturgy of the Hours as another aspect of enriching the spiritual life of the home “to sanctify the whole range of human activity.” Even in its shortened version, praying the Divine Office — the prayer of the universal Church — elevates prayer beyond the petitions for everyday needs and frees it from “self-centered” preoccupation “during which we watch ourselves to discover any effects,” and it “helps us to cease thinking about ourselves at all.”
Again the book gives prudent advice on how to incorporate some of the Liturgy of the Hours into a busy active life. Like the little oratory, the Divine Office nurtures the spiritual life and enriches the soul. In the words of The General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, “The purpose of the liturgy of the hours is to sanctify the day and all human activity.” It is a way of honoring the First Commandment of loving God first.
Praying continually, regardless of one’s vocation, is not a matter of words only as the authors explain but a matter of “divine orientation” that begins, ends, and centers each day “in the moral attitude of our soul and in the virtuous actions that extend throughout our life.”
With these simple aids of a little oratory and the habit of praying the Liturgy of the Hours in some shortened or modified form if necessary, the faithful Christian acquires the habits of the morning offering, examination of conscience at night, devotions during the week to the Trinity (Sunday), the Holy Spirit (Monday), the angels (Tuesday), or Christ’s Passion (Friday) and practices monthly devotions to the Holy Name of Jesus (January), the Holy Family (February), St. Joseph (March), or the Sacred Heart (June).
In other words, the mind is centered on God throughout the day, week, and month so that the “first things” of the moral life are not confused with secondary things of the world that distract and divert attention.
The oriented Christian remembers that “only one thing is necessary” and prays with the heart: “By striving for the ideal of praying with our whole person, continuously, and uniting this prayer to our whole way of life, we can perhaps begin to say that our heart is in it for God.”

Finding Time

How does someone find time for the Liturgy of Hours in addition to the daily rosary and attendance at daily or Sunday Mass? The authors provide prudent advice and practical answers that address the difficulties devoted Catholics experience in living a holy and devout life.
First, they encourage and give guidelines based on real experience, always sensitive about not burdening busy lives with more rules or demands or evoking the slightest guilt. The authors simply transmit the riches of the faith in the spirit of sharing the wisdom of the past: “These traditions are just ways of doing that have the blessing of being time-tested….”
The authors call to mind the self-evident truths about human nature that inform the oratory and the liturgy: Human beings as bodily creatures with five senses need visual images to understand spiritual realities, the invisible things of God known by the visible as St. Paul teaches. The beautiful always leads to the good and the true and lifts the mind to contemplation.
Furthermore, religion cannot be limited to Sundays only. Man is ordered to worship God and grow in union with Him. Those who are centered in Christ and abide with Him on a daily basis naturally communicate God’s love to others and transform the world. In short, “The little oratory contributes to the building of the culture.”
The book is both inspired by a beautiful vision of the Christian life according to its highest ideals and informed by a human wisdom that adapts the ideal to the real with the art of the possible. For anyone moved to incorporate these practices to grow in sanctity and Christian perfection, it is filled with ideas, suggestions, and good advice (see the appendixes at the end) that are too good to resist.

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Leading African cardinal critiques Vatican spokesman Fr. Rosica

ROME, October 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, a leading cardinal on the organizing committee for the Synod on the Family, issued a pointed critique on Twitter of a controversial report on the Synod by the Vatican’s…Continue Reading

Archbishop Chaput: Synod’s working text risks ‘compromise’ with sin

ROME, October 8, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Fresh off of the World Meeting of Families, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput gave a strong intervention at the Vatican’s family synod this week, warning that the meeting’s working text risks “compromise” with sin. The…Continue Reading

Canadian Catholic Schools Defy Archbishop on Transgender Policy

DMONTON, Alberta, Canada, October 8, 2015 ( – A Catholic school district in Canada is planning to approve a transgender policy contrary to its archbishop’s guidelines. The Edmonton Catholic school district in Alberta wants to push through a radical transgender…Continue Reading

Synod Showdown Report—October 5, 2015

We’re just out of the first press briefing of the Synod 2015, and things have pretty much picked up where they ended last year. The lead story, if you want to say there’s a lead to this, was a question…Continue Reading

Gov. Brown signs controversial assisted-suicide bill

Caught between conflicting moral arguments, Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student, signed a measure Monday allowing physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their deaths. Brown appeared to struggle in…Continue Reading

Someone is Lying About the Pope’s Meeting with Kim Davis

Papal spokesman Father Thomas Rosica flatly denies Kim Davis met privately with Pope Francis when he visited Washington, D.C. which stands in flat contradiction to Davis’s claims. In Roscia’s telling Davis was part of a large number of people as…Continue Reading

Top Universities Defend Research Using Body Parts From Aborted Babies

Some of America’s top universities have signed a letter urging states not to support legislation that would ban the sale of aborted babies for research. The letter comes after ten videos surfaced exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting business, along with…Continue Reading

Catholic Hospitals Sued For Refusing Emergency Care To Pregnant Women

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday announced that it is suing Trinity Health Corporation, which operates 80 hospitals nationwide, for refusing to provide pregnant women suffering from life-threatening emergency complications with abortions. Trinity Health hospitals have “repeatedly and systematically…Continue Reading

Too Scared to Pray? ISIL Cancels Prayers for Fear of Russian Airstrikes

The Islamic State terror group cancelled Friday prayers in the Syrian city of Raqqa and emptied mosques there out of fear of further Russian airstrikes, according to activists and city residents. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,…Continue Reading

Putin defends Russia’s ban on youth-focused gay propaganda: ‘I believe we should leave kids in peace’

MOSCOW, September 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – In 2013, Russia passed an amendment to the country’s Child Protection Law against “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,” which also safeguards children from being adopted by homosexuals. Western governments, led by the…Continue Reading

EXPOSED: The billionaire Planned Parenthood donor who wants his donations kept very, very secret

Sept. 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Three weeks after I left my job at the clinic, Planned Parenthood took me to court. I am always asked, “Why would they take you to court? Did they have something to hide?” Well, yes.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Brought Back Into Roman Curia By Pope Francis

Raymond Cardinal Burke has been re-appointed to Congregation for the Causes of Saints from which he had been removed in December of 2013.


Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 5

(Vatican Radio) Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office, brought three prelates as guests on Friday to the daily media briefing on the progress of the Synod on the Family taking place at Vatican City. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manilla, Philippines and Archbishops Joseph E. of Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, and Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid, Spain, were present.   Cardinal Tagle told the Friday press briefing that he was…Continue Reading

Synod bishops looking for more autonomy, new insight, fresh language

(Vatican Radio) At the Synod of Bishops on the Family on Friday morning, participants presented the results of their small language group work that has been going on behind closed doors for the past couple of days. Each group has been discussing the first section of the Synod’s working document, or Instrumentum Laboris, focused on the challenges facing family life today. Who exactly are those rows of men with their red and purple hats, sitting…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: why do good things happen to bad people?


(Vatican Radio) God does not abandon the righteous, while those who sow evil are like strangers, whose names heaven remembers not. This is the lesson Pope Francis drew from the readings of the day at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. A courageous young mother with a husband and three children – and a tumor – “one of the ugly ones” – that keeps her nailed to…Continue Reading

Synod on the Family: Press Briefing Day 4

(Vatican Radio) On Thursday Oct. 8 Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckley of Accra, Ghana, said that the world needs to be patient with Africa when it comes to dealing with issues like homosexuality. “Give countries time to deal with issues from our own cultural perspectives,” he said. He added that the dignity and rights of all God’s son and daughters need to be upheld. The Synod Fathers continued to work in groups on Thursday. Archbishop Edoardo Menchelli…Continue Reading

War Party Targets Putin And Assad

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Having established a base on the Syrian coast, Vladimir Putin began air strikes on ISIS and other rebel forces seeking to overthrow Bashar Assad. A longtime ally of Syria, Russia wants to preserve its toehold on the Mediterranean, help Assad repel the threat, and keep the Islamic terrorists out of Damascus.…Continue Reading

Biblical Types Of Our Lady

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY A previous article looked at the role of Mary as the New Eve, and now we will look at some biblical types of our Lady, and see how the early Church fathers saw different types and prophecies concerning Mary in the Old Testament, that is, that particular incidents or artifacts pointed…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “What is Transgenderism?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For all of the previous Culture of Life 101 articles on homosexuality, e-mail him at + + + While those fortunate few who still possess a lingering sense of reality cringed at the bizarre…Continue Reading

Liberty Counsel Says . . . Pope’s Words And Meetings Support Conscientious Objection

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Liberty Counsel issued the following statement on October 2: Mat Staver, county clerk Kim Davis’ attorney, is the chairman of Liberty Counsel: + + + Despite a statement this morning by a Vatican official, the Pope’s own words about conscientious objection being a human right and his private meeting with Kim Davis…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Ideal Artist

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY Santayana, George. The Life of Reason: Reason in Art. A critical edition, co-edited by M.S. Wokeck and M.A. Coleman. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2015. lvi + 276 pp. The Life of Reason is Volume VII, Book Four, of the Collected Works of George Santayana. Professor James Gouinlock of Emory University…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. We recently celebrated the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. But aren’t there other groupings of angels and what are they? — A.C., Florida. A. Based on the writings of Saints Dionysius, Gregory the Great, and Thomas Aquinas, the Church has taught that there are nine choirs of angels. Beginning at the highest level, they are Seraphim,…Continue Reading

Choose To Serve Rather Than To Be Served

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 53:10-11 Heb. 4:14-16 Mark 10:35-45 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells us that He came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. This is our hope for eternal salvation and, obviously, it is our hope…Continue Reading

Pope Francis In Philadelphia . . . Religious Liberty Transcends Places Of Worship

PHILADELPHIA (ZENIT) — Here is a Vatican translation of the address Pope Francis gave September 26 in Philadelphia, at a meeting with immigrants on the theme of religious freedom. ZENIT’s transcription and translation of his few off-the-cuff remarks are found in brackets. The Holy Father was in Philadelphia to attend the World Meeting of Families. ZENIT provided the text. All…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Pope Francis’ Visit Leaves Us Blessed And Strengthened

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The chair under me is rolling from starboard to port and back as I write to you this week because I do so aboard the USS San Antonio at sea. In my ministry here I am following through on something Pope Francis has asked of all of us: I am seeking souls at the periphery.…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course . . . The Church Of Christ Is Universal, For Everyone

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 22 It is true that Jesus came first for the Jews. Many individuals accepted Him, like the apostles, disciples, and their converts, but as a nation they refused Him. So the apostles spread their mission to the Gentiles — that means, to our ancestors. But even if the Jews had accepted Him, the apostles would…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. John XXIII

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Although rare, it is not unknown for a poor man, who had no connections and did not seek to develop them, to rise above all other men in stature and in influence over mankind. Such was the case of the sharecroppers’ son, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. Throughout his ecclesiastical career, he was obedient and kind, but…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Thomas of Hereford

By CAROLE BRESLIN During the High Middle Ages the power of kings began to disintegrate, as shown by the Magna Charta, which was established in 1215. Although neither party of the agreement held up to its commitments, the beginning of more democratic rule had arrived. Three years later a noble family gave birth to a man who played a significant…Continue Reading