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The Home is Symbolic

April 9, AD2015

Chelsea - holy family

What is the difference between a home and a hotel? Or a dormitory? If you were to come home to a clean house (cleaned by a maid) and had food to eat (store-bought), would it really make any difference who did those things? What if it wasn’t your home, but an actual hotel or if you were renting a room?

Apparently your environment affects your sleep and studies show that you will sleep better if your bedroom is clean and comfortable. Even animals sometimes make their homes beautiful. The bowerbird male is famous for using creative materials in making a nest as courtship.

I’ve heard Dr. Oz tell celebrities on his show that they need to start cooking, because our relationship with the food we eat is sacred. You can’t rely on someone else to make it for you all the time. And how much of housework should really be delegated?

The Bible often refers to Heaven as our Father’s home, our final resting place.

“The symbol of the heavens refers us back to the mystery of the covenant we are living when we pray to our Father. He is in heaven, his dwelling place; the Father’s house is our homeland. Sin has exiled us from the land of the covenant, but conversion of heart enables us to return to the Father, to heaven. Jn Christ, then, heaven and earth are reconciled, for the Son alone “descended from heaven” and causes us to ascend there with him, by his Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2795

The home is a place of rest, of comfort, of intimacy, of food, of personal “homemadeness”. So Heaven is our final rest after the weary battle of this life, of the Heavenly banquet. It is a place of comfort: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain” (Rev 21:4) The home, and Heaven, is above all a place for family.

“This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity – this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed – is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1024

The most natural place for a family to build communion is in the home. It is no minor detail that the home is called the domestic Church.

We are bodies, we aren’t just trapped in bodies. Our material realities point us toward spiritual realities, but we need those material realities in the raw. The love between man and wife points us to the love of the Trinity. The love of a father toward a son shows us a bit of God’s fatherly love for us. The water in the sacrament of Baptism mirrors God’s grace washing our soul. Our earthly home also points toward the concept of our heavenly home.

Finally, homes have to be made and there has to be someone to make them. If a home is such an important thing, then the person who makes that home should also be important, supported and encouraged. C.S. Lewis said, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”

There are fundamental differences between homes and hotels. A home is personal, a place for persons to live together and form communion. The material tasks of making and caring for a home are important to make the home more comfortable and more personal, so that its spiritual dimension be even clearer.

As a soldier thinks of home while out on the field or a lonely traveler gets homesick, we are ultimately homesick for our Heavenly home. Our homes here on earth show us what we are made for: comfort, rest, intimacy, the Banquet, love, communion and family.

Photography: See our Photographers page.

Filed in: Marriage & Family • Tags:

About the Author:

Julie Machado is a 30-year-old Portuguese-American who grew up in California, but moved to Portugal to study theology. She now lives there, along with the rest of her family, her husband and her children. She believes the greatest things in life are small and hidden and that the extraordinary is in the ordinary. She blogs at Marta, Julie e Maria.

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  • Guy McClung

    The purposeful destruction of the family by today’s Power People includes the annihilation of the “home” as we knew it growing up in America. This is no accident. Amoral atheistic power people – ie our “government”, the elites who rule us – figured out long ago that if there is an entity [family, community, church] that tells people “this is right and this is wrong,” then that entity has a power over people that the government does not have. One incredible power is for a Mom, a Dad, a church to say “that is sin.” This means that those who are ruled will listen to the parent or the church and not the government elites and will not follow the
    rules of the government , and this diminishes the elites’ power. Solution for
    the power people? Government elites dictate what is and what is not right and
    wrong; government elites via laws, e.g. “hate crimes,” tell the ruled what is
    and what is not sin. And government elites not only marginalize the churches, they criminalize them. Our rulers preach a new Power Gospel: Render to Obama the things that are Obama’s and render to Obama the things that are God’s. The Democrat Party is so aptly called the Party Of Death [a la Cardinal Burke] and that “death” is not only the death of the old and of those in their mothers’ wombs, but also the death of the family and the death of the home. God told us all about this when He had St. Paul tell us we must put on the full armor of God and wield the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, when He told us in Ephesians we are” wrestling with the world rulers of this present darkness.” God wins but, like so many, I wish He would win sooner than later – and our homes would again be fully spiritual homes. Guy McClung, San Antonio