Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Keeping a Catholic home

Prayer spaces and private devotional areas have long
been common in Catholic homes. (Photo credit: Gerri Bauer) 
What did it mean to keep a Catholic home in the Florida of a century ago? 

A clue is found in a 1921 edition of The Bulletin of the Catholic Laymen's Association of Georgia. Florida didn't have a comparable publication at the time, and the Georgia organization's literature reached readers across the state line.

Then, as now, prayer corners and private devotional areas were often a part of home decor. The brief article titled "Your Home" in The Bulletin's January 1921 issue recommends setting aside at least a corner, if not an entire room "for God."

The instructional piece is worth quoting in its entirety. Recommendations are fitting, if occasionally quaint in their optimism. The idea of being able to "rigorously exclude" everything that runs counter to the faith's precepts and teachings is near impossible in the 21st century. The world intrudes. 

The 1921 authors didn't mention radio. Television didn't yet exist, much less the Internet, computers, smart phones, apps, live streaming, and social media. Despite that, much in "Your Home" is relevant. For that, I say, Amen. Here's the full article:

The article 'Your Home' appeared in a
 1921 issue of The Bulletin,
a Georgia-based publication.
Your Home
"Make your home a Sanctuary. In it let no harsh word, no angry, indelicate or profane word, be uttered.

"If not always feasible in the morning, at least every evening, at a fixed hour, let the entire family be assembled for night prayers.

"Let the adornments of your home be chaste and holy pictures, sound and profitable books. No indelicate representation should ever be permitted in a Christian home. No child ought to be subjected to temptation by its own parents and in its own home.

"Let the walls of your home be beautified with suggestions of Our Divine Lord, of His Blessed Mother, and the Saints; with such pictures of the great and good as will be incentives to civic and religious virtue.

"The immoral, vulgar, sensational novel, the indecently illustrated newspaper, and publications tending to weaken faith in religion and Jesus Christ should be rigorously excluded from every home.

"Have in your home, your sitting room, your bedroom, no matter how small or how cheap, a blessed Crucifix.

"Have at the head of your bed, a small vessel containing Holy Water. If you can not set apart a room 'for God,' a least have some corner of a room for him. Let it be your oratory."

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