Three things that should be in every Catholic home - How many do you have?
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One of the most enjoyable features of a home is that you get to decorate it. It doesn't matter if your home is a room, or a tiny apartment, or a 100-room mansion. What matters is that it's your space and you choose what happens there, including how to decorate it.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It is a curious fact of history that the Catholic Church permeates every aspect of life. There are secular ways of doing everything, then there are Catholic ways. This is because the Catholic Church has a long tradition stretching back over 2,000 years. During many periods of time, the Catholic Church provided the only law and organization in the world.
It also provided the culture so homemaking, including cooking and decorating, took on a distinctive Catholic flavor. Over time, modern influences have diversified what makes a Catholic home but this just means more choices for you as the decorator.
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Despite differences, most Catholic homes have at least three things in common, not found in other homes. The first is a small font, usually filled with holy water positioned at the entrance to a home. Mounted by the door, these fonts are similar to those found in the vestibules and doorways into your parish church. Upon entering and leaving the home, you and your guests may bless yourselves with holy water.
The blessing gesture, typically made by performing the sign of the cross, serves as a reminder that the home is a holy place, consecrated to God and that those who bless themselves ask the favor and guidance of God in all they do. Guests may not immediately know the purpose of such a font, but it's easily explained and even non-Catholics can get excited about holy water and blessing themselves. It's a beautiful tradition and one that is common in Catholic homes around the world.
The second predominant feature of a Catholic home is the presence of crucifixes and statuary throughout the house. Usually a cross or crucifix is present in the living room and in every bedroom. The living room crucifix is commonly above the door.
In ancient Roman tradition, people did not have addresses, so they would indicate who owned the home with a plaque above the door, known as a "titulus." Today, this practice has become extinct, in favor of numbered addresses, which are incredibly impersonal. However, Catholic homes will commonly post a crucifix above the doorway to indicate the primacy of Christ to the family. It means the residence belongs first to Christ, and his sacrifice is accepted by those who live within. It is also a reminder that Jesus is welcome in the home.
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In bedrooms, the crucifix is placed on an available wall, or for children, a tiny crucifix can be pinned to a curtain over a window. There is a Catholic tradition usually reserved for those who work in very dangerous jobs, such as mining. Before the worker departs, he would remove the crucifix from the wall, kiss the icon of Jesus, and lay it gently on his pillow until his return.
The presence of the cross in the room is a powerful reminder of the faith and provides a focal point during private prayer.
The use of statuary is also common, but can sometimes be reserved for the third, distinctive feature of the Catholic home, which is the altar or shrine.
Throughout much of the world, Catholics maintain a space in their home as a focal point for religious activity. Typically it may be a decorated table or dresser, or perhaps even a shelf, but in all cases there is one space reserved for God and the saints.
Those spaces are commonly decorated with a statue or icon. At least one candle is present to signify prayers and serve as a form of offering. During occasions when the family, or even just the individual needs to make a special petition to God, the shrine is used as a place of exceptional devotion.
All these features can be viewed curiously by non-Catholics, especially American Protestants who do not share these essential Catholic traditions. That means these places provide you with an opportunity to share your faith with others, should they express an interest.
The spaces of your home are yours and they represent you. If your faith is important to you, then those spaces should reflect that. One should be proud of their home, no matter how humble it may be. Decorate your home, and let yourself always be reminded of the important place that your faith deserves in it.
For Catholic decorating ideas, please visit our Pinterest page. To outfit your home with quality Catholic decor, please visit Catholic Shopping .com.
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