Friday 31st October 2014

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . Becoming A Domestic Church

July 1, 2014 Featured Today No Comments

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN

The Little Oratory, by David Clayton and Leila Marie Lawler (Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, NH 2014), 186 pp. $19.95. Available through www.SophiaInstitute.com; 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:

Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

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 subscribe 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

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

ben1

(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

pope650

(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on Sunday. In remarks ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father offered some reflections on the Gospel reading of the day, which was taken from Gospel…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: Called To Be Children Of Light

(Vatican Radio) At morning Mass on Monday Pope Francis said that a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas. Reflecting on the First Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to…Continue Reading

Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK S.M. writes to offer some observations about the proposal to introduce a “pass-fail” grading system for freshmen at Princeton University. The possibility of doing that was discussed in the October 9 edition of First Teachers. He sees the idea as a “form of grade inflation that is solely intended to accomplish…Continue Reading

Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

By DONALD DeMARCO It is remarkable how much a single sentence can reveal about the temper of a culture, even when its author is trying to be withholding. Jacalyn Duffin, a historian and practicing hematologist, is the author of History of Medicine (University of Toronto Press, 2000). It is a 243-page tome that was produced…Continue Reading

Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach and cofounder of NFP International. This commentary appeared on his blog [johnkippley.com] of…Continue Reading

Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

Chilling Free Speech

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO Earlier this week, the federal government’s National Science Foundation, an entity created to encourage the study of science — encouragement that it achieves by awarding grants to scholars and universities — announced that it had awarded a grant to study what people say about themselves and others in social media. The…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 A classical objection: What Catholics call the “Apostolic Tradition” is just a human tradition, which Jesus clearly condemned in the Gospel, when He said to the Pharisees, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?…So, for the sake of your tradition you have made void the…Continue Reading

Public Revelation Vs. Private Revelation

By DON FIER Our previous installment ended by citing a pair of remarkable verses from the Letter to the Hebrews, verses that concisely summarize God’s divine pedagogy, His master plan of divine Revelation: “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by a…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

By CAROLE BRESLIN October 31 has come to be yet another Christian holy day corrupted by our secular society. All Hallows Eve, Halloween, is now celebrated with emphasis on evil and horror. Corn mazes with frightening objects around the corner, haunted houses to terrify even the bravest of persons, glorification of vampires, and decorations of death and witches — these…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

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