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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS GENERAL AUDIENCE: Ash Wednesday (FULL TEXT: English) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning and good path of Lent!It is beautiful and also significant to have this hearing at this Ash Wednesday. We begin the journey of Lent, and we are reflecting today on the ancient institution of the "jubilee"; It is an ancient thing, ... continue reading


Pope Francis' message for Lent (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Franics, Vatican Radio

"I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13).The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee 1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelizedIn the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that "the season of Lent in ... continue reading


'There is nowhere else for us to go': Nuns who feed homeless face eviction after rent nearly doubles Watch

Image of Nuns who feed homeless were told to pay or leave (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The cost of living in San Francisco has skyrocketed to the point that and new reports indicate Bay Area housing has reached such heights that the area's average income can no longer support it. Unfortunately, this means everyone is downsizing or moving - including ... continue reading


The 'Martyred Country': Pope Francis' powerful words on Syria Watch

Image of Pope Francis led the crowds in praying the Hail Mary

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

The plight of Syrian civilians involved in the nation's ongoing conflict was at the heart of Pope Francis' appeal to the international community on Sunday, in an address where he also called for a renewed commitment to the protection of life at all stages. ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS ANGELUS: February 7, 2016 (FULL TEXT: ENGLISH) Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

Dear brothers and sisters, Goodmorning!The Gospel of this Sunday says - in the drafting of St. Luke - the call of the first disciples of Jesus ( Lk 5,1-11). The fact takes place in a context of everyday life: there are some fishermen on the shore of Lake Galilee, who, ... continue reading


Is this where the Annunciation took place? Ancient artwork sheds light an old mystery about the Virgin Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation, 1859 (oil on canvas), Pinchon, Auguste.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

One of the oldest depictions of the Virgin Mary is casting new light on the Annunciation. A new look at an ancient depiction in the Yale University Art Gallery is making some question what they believe about the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


How do presidents pray? The beginning of a beautiful tradition Watch

Image of John F. Kennedy praying during the 9th annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 9, 1961 (Prayers for America).

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

This morning marks the 64th annual National Prayer Breakfast and President Obama's last time attending the remarkable tradition while in office.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On the first Thursday in February, the members of Congress and evangelical ... continue reading


Pope Francis will travel to Mexico as a messenger for peace Watch

Image of Pope Francis has participated in a collective interview, in which he responded to four questions posed by 33 people from various states across Mexico (Catholic News Agency).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis will leave for Mexico in just over a week. In a new interview with a Mexican news agency, he told citizens of the crime-ridden country that while there, he hopes to be a messenger of peace, which must be fought for daily. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


Sparks fly over Pope Francis' interview with Asia Times Watch

Image of Pope Francis did not speak of religion or freedom when praising China as a progressive country (Vatican).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis' exclusive interview on Tuesday afternoon has been met with harsh criticism. Though the pontiff spoke highly of the country, he steered clear of religion and freedom talks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis spoke ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Stations of the Cross - Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother HD Video
  • Take this thought provoking Stations of the Cross survey
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent
  • Palm Sunday HD Video
  • St. Scholastica: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Joel 2:12-18
12 'But now -- declares Yahweh- come back to me with all your heart, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
1 'Be careful not to parade your uprightness in public to attract ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 5:20--6:2
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 10th, 2016 Image

St. Scholastica
February 10: St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, ... Read More