Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

4/4/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope says he's willing to speak to Islamic State - says nations are likewise guilty of 'terrorism' Watch

Image of After addressing the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, Pope Francis also told journalists that the threat of terrorism was not the only horror weighing on the world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asked about the possibilities of discussion with Islamic State, Pope Francis said, "I never count anything as lost. Never. Never close the door. It's difficult, you could say almost impossible, but the door is always open." The Pontiff went forward to say that ... continue reading


Take the Catholic Online Thanksgiving Challenge! Watch

Image of Reaching out to others is precisely the way to show that we are thankful for what we have.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday filled with family and food, often spent on televised parades and football, and naps after lunch. Kids play in the yard or the streets as everybody generally has a good time. However, this is not the case for millions of ... continue reading


Unborn, terminally ill and elderly are treated as objects in Europe, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of If we uphold the dignity of the person we are acknowledging the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Despite talk of human rights, too many people are treated as objects in Europe: unborn, terminally ill, and the elderly," Pope Francis said. Speaking at the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, the pontiff said that "We're too tempted to throwaway lives we ... continue reading


Church recognizes six new saints as Pope Francis canonizes in Sunday ceremony, speaking about how we too shall be judged Watch

Image of Indian well-wishers gather at the Vatican for the Canonization ceremony.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has canonized six new saints, two Indians and four Italians, praising their lives as "extraordinary" and reminding us all that we will be judged by how we treat others. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis recognized six new saints on Sunday, ... continue reading


Pope says church must extend help to immigrants, 'so that all may be treated as children of God' Watch

Image of The world must now recognize the advantages of migration. Host countries get new workers to meet production needs,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking to the 300 participants in the Vatican-sponsored World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, the Pope says that the Catholic Church "is a mother without limits and without borders." He says that the church must welcome and assist all of God's children, ... continue reading


Feast of Christ the King and Advent: What Does it Mean? Watch

Image of The Church really IS the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ. That Body is inseparably joined to the Head. Jesus Christ is alive, he has been raised, and he continues His redemptive mission now through the Church, of which we are members. As we choose to actually live our lives liturgically, not just go through the motions, we can move through life in the flow of the liturgical calendar. We can experience the deeper mystery and meaning of life, now made New in Jesus Christ, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6,7) Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is meant to become the Lord of our whole lives, and inform the very pattern of how we live them.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On November 23rd we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Liturgical Church year offers to each of us consider the creature which is called time, receive it as a gift and begin to really live differently. Yet, for ... continue reading


Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... 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, Revelation 15:1-4
1 And I saw in heaven another sign, great and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 7-8, 9
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
12 'But before all this happens, you will be seized ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2014 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. He ... 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