Preparing Our Hearts and Homes For a King

Maybe it's my physical touch love language talking, but I love how the Catholic faith is tangible. Some of my favorite Masses during the year are those celebrated with all of the 'smells and bells' of Catholicism. I love watching the candles flicker during the Easter Vigil, smelling the incense, hearing the chanted hymns, reveling in the beauty of the word made flesh through the Eucharist. 

Throughout the whole liturgical calendar, we're still able to experience the embodied faith of Catholicism. The rosary invites us to pray with our body and our soul. Sacraments themselves are outward signs of inward graces. And gloriously, the source and summit of our faith is the celebration of the Eucharist - a God who comes down into our messiness and invites us to consume His body and blood. He asks us to interact with Him in a real, raw, and tangible way. 

Even the building of Catholic churches themselves speak to this tangibility. Stained glass windows tell the story of Salvation history. In our worship, the Catholic faith is made tangible - from the sacraments to the soaring heights of cathedral ceilings. But that tangibility is not reserved just for Sunday at Mass. We should sense the same tangibility of our faith when we enter the family home - the domestic church.

Thus the little domestic Church, like the greater Church, needs to be constantly and intensely evangelized: hence its duty regarding permanent education in the faith. . .the family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates. . . the future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home.
— Saint Pope John Paul II

We're called to give our entire lives to Christ and His Church - not just Sundays for an hour. We're called to eat, sleep, and breathe with Christ, even in the menial daily jobs of folding laundry, driving to work, or helping a little person into their pajamas at the end of the night.

Saint Teresa of Avila once said that "God walks among the pots and pans." But I'm pretty sure that He strolls among all of the aspects of our daily lives, not just the kitchen tasks. We encounter God in our worship at Mass, but we also teach and learn the lessons of humility, love, and mercy within the four walls of our own homes. 

When Joseph (my husband) and I moved to Kansas City last January, we moved all of our belongings into a one bedroom apartment that we came to call home. We joke that it was just big enough to be comfortable, and small enough to prevent us from having a lot of unnecessary junk. 

But after a year,  our lease came to a close and we knew it was time to move to a different home. So over the past two weeks, I've packed and unpacked everything Joseph and I own into cardboard boxes. We found a beautiful duplex and I love that this new place we're learning to call home is also helping us build our domestic church, too. 

A spacious kitchen that opens to a sitting area allows for conversation between the two rooms. I can't wait to have friends and family over for dinner and not have them be shut off from the kitchen while we prepare dinner. 

A front porch and back patio with space for our rocking chair is another part of our new home that I love. I've found that front porches foster intentional community (especially with new neighbors). By sitting out on the front porch, people say hello and ask how your day was - another way to build a domestic church and community. 

During this season of our faith, we're called to prepare our hearts for the coming of a King during Advent. We light the Advent candles at Mass and hear of the Israelite people preparing for the coming of a Messiah. But our preparation cannot stop when we leave the church building on the weekend. We're called to also prepare our homes,  our domestic church, for the coming of friends and family this holiday season. Are our homes welcoming and inviting? The people we open our front door to are made in the image of Christ. When we welcome them in, we welcome Him in.

The Catholic Church calls us to a tangible faith life within our home. Our homes should be ablaze with love for God. It's within these homes that we foster vocations, encounter our brothers and sisters in Christ, and live out our vocation. How can you make your home a domestic church during this Advent season?