Ministry Tip of the Week
Family life is a culture. Every home is a culture. We speak of "inculturating the faith" with respect to society at large, but this only happens when inculturation first takes place within the individual cells of that society. The family and the home must become ever more a reflection of the greater family of God and the kingdom of heaven. The family really is, as we seem to hear so often now, the domestic church.
Has Catholicism become incarnate (a living, tangible reality) in our homes? How might we more effectively cultivate this inculturation? Praying and reading Scripture together as a family is an obvious starting place, but I think something deeper must be taking root as well. The modern American family exists as an individualistic entity, set apart as its own "culture." Each house on the block lives according to its own principles and values, "co-existing" but separate from their neighbors.
Catholicism calls us deeper. The power of Christ at work in his Church is unitive, Through the Holy Spirit, we live a common life; and its a life that should be shared with one another. Amidst great diversity of personality and spiritual expression, we live together the life of Jesus Christ. It's truly beautiful, and a testament to the power of God. In Christ, we actually can all get along, not in spite of our differences but through celebrating them.
We need to open our homes. We need to let our Catholicism branch out and be seen by, but more importantly shared with other members of the Body of Christ. We need to let our children grow up in faith together. They need to see mom and dad praying with their friends. They need to celebrate and play in their homes with the faces they see on Sunday.
Men and women need to come together (outside of mass) to grow together in faith. "Religion" must come home with us, literally. If you've never had a Bible Study in your home, think about starting something. Invite some friends in the faith to share in something a couple nights a month. Invite some acquaintances as well, and let the Holy Spirit foster new friendships. Make sure there's food!
I'm amazed at the quality and variety of DVD studies available nowadays. They've made this kind of thing completely simple. Often, you just press play, then discuss. Here at St. Andre Bessette Parish, we have a number of excellent options for parishioners who'd like to get a small group study going in their home. Here's a link to the page on our website that gives all the currently available choices:
AT-HOME STUDIES THROUGH OUR PARISH
However we open our homes, the key is that we do it. Culture is most intimate in the home, and therefore most transformative. Many things compete for pride of place in our way of life, but our faith is meant to be the heart of it all. So may we let Catholicism "take flesh" in our homes in new and transformative ways, may we encourage others to do likewise, and may this include a growing personal element of new friendships and inter-family gatherings. "Those who pray together can look each other in the eyes" (Pope St. John Paul II).