Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sacred Spaces

It's fair day!
Welcome to the Sacred Spaces event of the Simply Lovely Fairs series! It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing the streamers and penants tied to the brightly decorated booths all around the fairgrounds. I'm ready to go on a hunt for inspiration! Come with me and I'll introduce you around!

First up is Grandma K 's booth at A Bit of the Blarney . Look how it softly glows! Let's stroll over there to see what that's all about.

" our house," she explains,"each room has a small crucifix over the light switch. That way each time you enter or leave the room and must turn on or off the light you see the "Cross of our Salvation." So with each light switch sold, a crucifix would also be added. "

Next, I'll to take you over to check out the lovely thoughts and visuals over the kitchen sink at Sonlight Garden. Make sure and have a look at the adorable mini altars this creative mom has made for her children!
From here you can see Barbara's Booth, These Things, which is beautifully decorated with an array of wreaths inspired by the colors and themes of the Liturgical Year. You'll find a special corner devoted to the Look of Lent, with some wonderful ideas for the season.
Now over to Michele's at Decrease to Increase. Michele has a perfectly wonderful Stations of the Cross idea to share, as well as pictures of her family's domestic altar and sacred image collections.

Bia's booth is next over at La Dolce Vita. Her prayer station and prayer basket ideas are wonderful. You'll find a treat for all the senses in Bia's Sacred Space!

There is still plenty of space for more booths, folks! If anybody would like to join in the fun, please leave your comments and/or links in the comments box below!

But, here, last, we've come to my booth:

Sacred Spaces Everywhere
But don't expect them to be quiet or subdued...

I Find a heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms."
~ St. Stanislaus Kostka

I've always thought it would be the ultimate in Catholic piety to own a prie Dieu. I would make a special, quiet little corner for it, complete with pictures and statues. Surely that would inspire me to pray more and pray better... Or I'd just as happily take a little meditation corner out in the garden, with a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother, or St. Francis (or both of them!) Someplace quiet. Contemplative. Someplace where I can pray for all those children who keep me from having a chance to kneel down and pray.

But, I don't have a prie dieu, and am not likely to have one for some time. For one thing, the simplest ones start at $200, and for another thing, I don't have the time ~ or the quiet. At this season of my life, with many small children still at home, I have to catch a prayer life on the run. Which is OK. Every season of life has its challenges, and God gives us opportunities for grace at every turn, so long as we learn to recognize them and grab them as we're running by. Or, better yet, surround ourselves with our faith, so that in every breath, we find a prayer.

The very experience of living in our homes can be a prayer.

A lifelong prayer for the salvation of our children. Imagine the graces flowing through the rooms of a house where a child knows from its first awareness that God is the focus, that His love is what makes us happy, that His Heavenly Court are our refuge in hard times, our cheerleaders in good times. This faith permeates like the scent of bread baking. Who can resist it?

The whole house is a sacred space! And the Catholic attitude of our family life can lift our hearts and minds to God.

All the words we speak
...not only to the Heavenly Father, but those spoken in charity to one another can be prayers, even if their purpose is no more than to fulfill our vocation. So, telling the children for the fifth time in one day to take off their muddy shoes at the door, ~ if you remember to say it patiently ~ can be a prayer. One moment of biting the tongue for love of charity can be worth many moments of formal prayer on a private prie dieu.

It's good to remember that it's not only the prayers we say that rise to heaven. If we imagine our every word being placed on an incense burner that will drift up to Our Blessed Mother's heavenly home, we can't help but be more careful about what we choose to say. We want the scent that reaches paradise from us to be a pleasant one.

The music and entertainment that are the habits of our homes also reach the ears and eyes of the Heavenly Court and furnish the minds of the people who are subject to them. Choosing wholesome television and music for our love of goodness, for our love of God, can turn our entertainment into prayers. Turning off the television for more active pursuits clears the air better than almost anything to create a sacred space of our homes. The sacrifice of giving up or limiting this medium is a powerful prayer!

What do you see
... that lifts your heart and mind to God? Most people are strongly oriented toward the visual. You can't help but notice that the modern world is largely set up to influence us through our eyes: television, movies, books, computers, billboards, blackboards, bulletin boards, post-it notes... They all communicate through our sight. The decorations of our home communicate something, too. Consciously or subconciously, we display what we love. Look around your house and see what it tells about you.

I'll tell you one thing we love. Words. I recently realized this, in fact. We have words everywhere! And not just in our book collection (and in this verbose post...); even our wall art consists mostly of pictures with words on them. So, it's probably no accident that our children are readers, huh?

They learned early that letters and words are important to Mommy and Daddy, important to our family, and therefore important to them.

We teach the same thing to our children by displaying pictures and statues of the Holy Family and the saints.

We have a crucifix in every room, and a multitude of statues and pictures that we've collected over the years. We are blessed to have so many, in fact, that we circulate them according to feasts and seasons. Doing this is a wonderfully visual way to keep the children in tune with the liturgical year. Right now, St. Joseph has the place of honor on our dining room table (unadorned because it's Lent). At other times of the year, we'll bring out statues of St. Therese the Little Flower, Our Lady of Fatima, St. Michael, St. Rita, the Infant of Prague, our Ecce Homo or Pieta, etc. But we come to think of our heavenly patrons as family, by displaying their images as we do our earthly family's photographs.
We have a regular schedule for prayers that take place before our Sacred Images. It's a custom in our family for the little ones to blow kisses to Jesus and Mary's statues at bedtime. Our big statue of the Blessed Mother has received many, many dandelions at her feet through the years and we believe they turn into roses by the time the love that's offered with them reaches the Real Woman in heaven. Our Lady also has her own coffee can where the children drop their extra coins, to save money for the Mary garden we want to have someday. These little things live in their hearts and minds forever and help make fertile places for Faith to grow.

It's important to find that time for real connection with God in prayer, real prayer, but for a busy mom, this time often comes in stolen moments. A minute or two by the bedside in the morning and evening are usually the only private time I have with Our Lord! But the God who made me and blessed me with my ten beautiful children (who come with an enormous amount of laundry, dirty dishes, schoolwork and general upkeep!) understands my busy life better than anybody. As long as I love Him, while I'm loving my family, He knows I mean it as a prayer. My morning offering insures it!
Michelle's room is crowded with her collections, religious
images tucked very nicely into all the corners of her life...
Our Sacred and Immaculate Hearts plaques displayed with
books, and Our Lady of Fatima reigning over the computer desk.
Lenten reading and inspiration on my bedside table.
Notice how St. Rita, the patroness of impossible cases,
is stationed near my laundry area... As a mother, herself,
I feel sure she sympathizes!

Other great resources:
Here is an excellent article on the Domestic Church.
Go here for information on the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home.


Marie said...

Oh, lisa what a glorious experience. Thankyou for allowing us to wonder through your home where God truly IS The Head of the Home. What a blessing you are!

I was VERY lucky in that the Carmelite Nuns here gave me some beautiful statues of Our Lady, Jesus, St. Therese of Lisieux and a 4 ft statue of Jesus Sacred Heart.

I have so many statues that once it cools down I intend to make little grotto's and turn my garden into a prayer garden:).

What a spritually refreshing post to read, Thankyou lisa:).

Peace & love to you:)

Marie xoxooxox

Bia said...

Lisa, first of all, thank you for hosting this fair on such a lovely topic. Preparing for it really made me take a hard look both at what we do and what we can do better.

I totally agree that the whole house is a sacred space, so I loved how you mentioned that every spoken word can be a prayer. Wow. I never thought of that before.

Everyone had such good ideas and suggestions . . . I truly feel inspired.

AND I need a St. Rita in my laundry room, too!

God bless, and have an enjoyable day at the fair!

GrandmaK said...

Well, I must say this is the most delightful place to be right now. I have visited all the "booths" and have enjoyed it immensely. Will share my sacred space with you in my blog soon. Thank you sooooo much! God bless, as I am off to pray my rosary.

Laura said...

Congratulations on this great idea- I am going to spend much more time later today to enjoy all of your "spaces."
Incidently, my mother and father have a prie dieu in thier bedroom. I've always thought it was very special...Where did they get it? I have not idea.
Really wonderful post.

michele said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for hosting this fair. This was really fun and inspirational to see have every one lives our faith at home.
Thanks for showing us yours too, it is Lovely! I have always wanted a prie Dieu, also! I need to ask hubby to make me one. I also have the clock you have pictured ;)
I think I need to adopt your idea of having a statue in the laundry room...I really need more grace in there!

God Bless

Maryan said...

Great fair!! I loved reading all your ideas and checking out everyone else's too. I've been trying to think of ways to create prayer spots for the kids... and this has given me a lot of great food!

Colleen said...

This is an AWESOME fair...I so wanted to get a post to you, but life didn't permit it. Perhaps tonight. Thank you so much. It is truly lovely.

Alexandra said...

Wonderful links and ideas!

Dad 2 eight said...

I think it is important that our homes be sacred spaces of witness to others. When you enter our living room, you will see a 3'tall statue of Our Lady of Fatima, flanked by a Russian icon on the right and a picture of (Soon to be Saint) JPII. Next to that is a picture of our choir singing in St. Ignatius Chuirch in Rome. Next to that, is a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. When my daughter brought by one of her high school friends, he said: Gee, Man. Catholics must live here." An indictment I am pleased to bear.

bfarmmom said...

This was a beautiful fair! Thank you for hosting. Your home is beautiful and sacred. What wonderful images all over your home! I love the Saint Rita statue, she belongs in my laundry room also!
God Bless,

Stina said...

Thank you for sharing your home. It is very motivating to see your example.