Two wonderful articles on the atmosphere of a Catholic Home……
From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, O.F.M., 1927
The parents of the family will at once take it upon themselves to give their home the air of a house of God.
In other words, they will supply it with those emblems that aunt to have a place in every Catholic home.
Of these emblems the first and foremost is the crucifix of which mention was made before.
Besides it there ought to be other representations of our Lord, his mother, and the Saints, discreetly placed about the home.
Whilst the house needs not to be turned into a holy picture gallery, yet a prudent selection of holy pictures will become a Catholic home. They are indicative of faith, and of a certain gratitude for, and pride in, the faith.
In the meantime they are a continuous reminder of God and his saints, the heroes and heroines of virtue, to the family, and thus provide it with a potent stimulant to piety and goodness.
Every Catholic home should have on hand two candlesticks and two blessed wax candles to be used in cases of sickness for the administration of the sacraments; also a bottle containing holy water; and in every sleeping room there ought to be a small holy water font.
The Holy Bible
A copy of the holy Bible, of the lives of the Saints, and of some good explanation of Catholic beliefs and practices should be found in every Catholic home. It should moreover keep at least one Catholic magazine together with the Catholic newspaper of the diocese or province.
The parents are not only to make this provision, but they are also the example in the regular and wholesome reading of these books and periodicals, and cultivate a taste for them in themselves and their children, by often and prudently making their contents the subject of the family conversation.
At the same time they will be careful to shut their home to all literature of a dangerous or dubious character, even as they will rigidly prohibit in it profane and other language that is unbecoming in the house of God, namely the little temple over which they have the charge and the responsibility.
from True Womanhood – Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, 1894
A holy house is one in which God is truly King; in which He reigns supreme over the minds and hearts of the inmates; in which every word and act honors His name. One feels on entering such a house, nay, even on approaching it, that the very atmosphere within and without is laden with holy and heavenly influences.
Modern authors have written elegantly and eloquently about the home life which was the source of all domestic virtues and all public greatness in the powerful nations of antiquity. They describe, in every household, in the poor man’s cabin as well as in the palace, that altar set apart for family worship, on which the sacred fire was scrupulously watched and kept alive night and day.
No one ever went forth from the house without first kneeling at that altar and paying reverence to the divinity of the place, and no one, on returning, ever saluted his dearest ones before doing homage there.
There, too, at night the household met for prayer and adoration, and there again with the dawn they knelt together to beg on the labors of the day before them the blessing of the deity worshiped by their fathers.
This altar and this undying fire were regarded as a something so holy that only the most precious wood and the purest material was employed to feed the flame. Nothing filthy or defiled was permitted to approach the spot; and every indecent word uttered or act committed near it was deemed a sacrilege.
This hearth-altar, or hearth-fire, as it was called, was symbolical of the fate of the family. If it was neglected and allowed to die out, this was deemed an irreparable calamity foreboding the ruin of the home and the extinction of the race.
In the Christian home it is the flame of piety, ardent love for God, and charity toward the neighbor, which constitutes the hearth-fire that should ever burn bright.
Old Catholic homes, (how many of our readers will remember it?) were wont to have the cross placed outside as a symbol of the love for the Crucified which ruled all hearts within; and in the interior His name, as well as His image could be seen on almost every wall, informing the stranger-guest that He was in the house of the common Parent, and in the midst of dear brethren.
And how many of us may also remember the poor but cleanly cottage of the laborer, or the narrow room of city families, on whose bare but white walls there was no ornament but the crucifix, and no glory but that of the Holy Name written there as a seal of predestination?
Where the fire of divine love is fed as carefully, and the mother and her daughters watch as jealously as the Roman matrons and maidens of old that its flame shall never be extinguished, there is little fear that any conversation but what is “innocent” shall prevail.
Purity and charity are the twin-lights of every home deserving of God’s best blessing and man’s heartfelt veneration.
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