Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

4/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Building an environment in our home and our lives

We all recognize the need to breath clean air for optimal health.  Anyone who has ever unwittingly sucked a cloud of smoke into his lungs knows the discomfort it can cause. Air pollution from factories and poorly maintained vehicles are blamed for all kinds of ills from environmental to health. So to, we must be mindful of the "air" we are breathing into our bodies, minds and souls.

Highlights

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Fr. Boquet, Catholicism, icons, faith, Tara K. E. Brelinsky


ZEBULLON, NC (Catholic Online) - Not long ago we had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Boquet of Human Life International when he visited our parish. After Mass, he blessed us by sharing a potluck dinner and imparting some of his wisdom and spiritual guidance. The title of his evening talk was "Catholic Air."

What better time than in this Holy Week to do an air quality check in our homes, our lives.  No, I'm not suggesting we hire an HVAC specialist to sanitize our ducts.  And I'm not referring to that odd odor that is emanating from under my teenaged son's bed. The "Catholic air" to which Father was referring is the atmosphere we create in our homes.

We all recognize the need to breath clean air for optimal health.  Anyone who has ever unwittingly sucked a cloud of smoke into his lungs knows the discomfort it can cause. Air pollution from factories and poorly maintained vehicles are blamed for all kinds of ills from environmental to health. So to, we must be mindful of the "air" we are breathing into our bodies, minds and souls.

When my journey into motherhood had just begun, I must admit that the airflow in our home was stifled.  We surrounded ourselves with ordinary art and décor.  Our frugal budget offered no means for a Picasso or Duncan Phyfe, but we did attempt to create a welcoming environment with hand-me-down furniture and thrift store paintings.

But as our little ones grew and my home schooling career commenced I began to  reflect on my Catholic grade school experience.  Recollecting those habited Sisters, our plastic rosaries, statues of the Blessed Mother and the crucifixes that hung in every room, I realized that a big part of my education was scented with the aroma of Catholicism.  That is to say, Catholic symbols, books and objects surrounded us and infused us with faith.

So, as I set about preparing to educate my own brood, I realized that our home would be the center of their whole educational sphere and that included their education in the faith.  Pretty pictures and comfortable furnishings were useful, but those alone would do little to reflect the true lessons we hoped to impart on those young, innocent minds.

Our home needed to be a mirror of our priorities, a reflection of our inner selves (or at least an image that we were striving to reflect). I suppose I have my mother-in-law to thank for blessing us with our wedding icons and an individual icon for each of our older children. In doing so, she provided our home with its first visible symbols of the faith we were proclaiming.

Of course, if we were going to teach our children at home, than it would be a Catholic education; and how could we impart a truly faith-based education without choosing good, authentic Catholic curriculum. Those school books, filled with beautiful Catholic artwork and sainted characters, were hard to close until we began to add equally beautiful images to our walls and our refrigerator gallery.

Catholic symbols had a natural appeal to our children.  When I started a little shrine to our Lady in the kitchen, the older boys followed suit by covering a corner table in their bedroom with rosaries, holy cards and little resin saints.  The sweet scent of Catholicism wafted through our home like incense from a senser.

Not having stepped foot in my childhood parish since my family moved to the parish on the opposite side of my hometown, I was excited at the chance to revisit Sacred Heart just a couple of years ago.  Walking in the side door, the one I'd walked through countless times before as a pony-tailed, freckle-faced girl, I was instantly attracted to the huge painting of Jesus in the narthex.  I recognized His face and He spoke to me of the many times we'd met as I'd entered through that very door on my way into His house.  I felt as though I'd just come home.  That painting connected me to more than a building, it linked me to my childhood, the beginnings of my faith journey.

While to an outsider (especially an outsider to the faith) our home may now resemble a layman's monastery, it is our refuge.  Our refuge from a world that fills the air with visual and auditory pollution.  Just as the signs and symbols of my grade school days are intertwined with my faith memories, so too, the Catholic décor we fill our home with tangibly connects us with our beliefs.  I can speak to my children about the mercy of God.  I can tell them about Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, but how much more effective that lesson becomes when they can see and touch an image of Christ crucified.

Some days I whisk passed the icons and statues in my home with barely a fleeting glance or consideration, but other times I am stopped in my tracks.  The picture of my Blessed Mother hanging in my bedroom will cause me to take pause and pray for a need that's weighing heavily on my mind. The holy oil on my kitchen shrine reminds me to bless the little one in my womb.  The rosaries dangling beside the door offer my children ready access to a meditative tool.  This is the Catholic air of which Father Bouquet spoke, the perceivable representations of our mysterious faith.

There is a popular quote I've heard repeated, it asks, "If someone accused you of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"  Would a stranger know you are a child of God just by looking at you?  How about by speaking with you?  What if he entered your home, would he know Whom you serve?

Children love to model their heroes, for that matter so do adults.  They'll wear Taylor Swift's perfume, don a T-shirt labeled Sean John, or plaster their bedroom walls with Justin Bieber's smirk.  So, it is crucial that we reflect on the messages we are mimicking and ask ourselves if the air we are breathing (and emitting) is refreshing to the soul or simply adding to the already polluted worldly environment.

------

Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of seven living children, with six more heavenly ones who intercede (and a little soul expected to arrive in August). Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, a fish, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the the glory of God. You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog "Blessings In Brelinskyville" (www.http://brelinskyville.blogspot.com/).

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

Bishop Melki, executed after he refused to convert to Islam in 1915 has been beatified Watch

Image of Pope Francis earlier this month confirmed Bishop Melki's beatification saying he was killed in hatred.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Martyred during the Assyrian Genocide in 1915, Bishop Melki is on the road towards sainthood with his beatification this past weekend. Killed in Gazarta during the sayfo, or "putting to the sword" of Syrians in 1915, he was killed after he refused to convert to ... continue reading


For the first time we can see how BEAUTIFUL the 'real' Saint Rose was. Scientists have reconstruct her likeness Watch

Image of According to the news site Peru Catolico, the researchers said the reconstruction shows she was

By CNA/EWTN News

The face of the first saint of the New World may be better known than ever; thanks to a team of scientists, that has analyzed the skull of Saint Rose of Lima. Lima, Peru (CNA/EWTN News) - Scientists from the University of Saint Martin de Porres in Peru and the ... continue reading


Quest for God is modern world's biggest challenge, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says Watch

Image of The Ratzinger Schuelerkreis will gather Sept. 28-30 to discuss the theme set them by their former professor.

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

Benedict XVI considers the quest for God to be contemporary society's foremost challenge, according to one of the emeritus Pope's former students, who has organized the annual meeting of Ratzinger's students to discuss that very topic. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Changing your HEART, not just behavior is a vital part of conversion process, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

In his Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis said that merely obeying the rules isn't enough to make us holy, but that if we truly want to serve God our conversion has to be deeper, changing the heart. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's not exterior things which ... continue reading


Pilgrimage with Pope Francis - THIRD STATION - St. Joachim, patron of fathers

Image of St. Joachim, pray for us!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Welcome to the third station on our virtual pilgrimage to Philadelphia with Pope Francis ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Let us pray! About St. JoachimBy tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. After ... continue reading


Priest to lead pilgrims on 104 mile walk to see Pope Francis in Philly - Here's how you too can make a pilgrimage Watch

Image of Pilgrims in Scotland make a Good Friday trek burdened with crosses. Many Catholics around the world still make pilgrimages, even if they are the work of just a day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An intrepid group of about 20 pilgrims will be making the 104 mile walk from Baltimore to Philadelphia to attend Mass with Pope Francis. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Remember, our Lord walked to all of his appointments," Fr. John J. Lombardi told Catholic ... continue reading


Atheists force portrait of Jesus out of Kansas public school Watch

Image of The portrait of Jesus that has been on display at the school since the 1950s.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Local residents in Chanute, Kansas expressed anger after the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation successfully filed a petition for the removal of a portrait of Jesus Christ, which had been hanging for over 60 years in a Kansas public school.   ... continue reading


Pilgrimage with Pope Francis - SECOND STATION - St. Francis patron saint of animals and ecology

Image of Welcome to the virtual shrine to St. Francis.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Welcome to the second station on our virtual pilgrimage to Philadelphia with Pope Francis ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Let us pray! About St. FrancisSaint Francis was born to a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, Italy. Raised in a wealthy home, the young ... continue reading


Philadelphia prison inmates design chair for Pope Francis, and hope he will pray with them - Victims want their voices heard too Watch

Image of An inmate proudly shares the seal made for Pope Francis' seat.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will meet with prison inmates during his visit to Philadelphia. In anticipation of this arrival, inmates have built him a special chair to use. His visit will bring hope to inmates and their families as he shares the restorative message of Christ with ... continue reading


Pope Francis declares parents tasked with teaching their children how to pray Watch

Image of

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

On Wednesday, Pope Francis continued his weekly catechesis on the family, saying that parents have the responsibility to teach their children to pray. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Delivering his address to pilgrims and visitors, gathered under the hot sun for ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1, 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 31st, 2015 Image

St. Raymond Nonnatus
August 31: Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain. He was delivered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter