Why These Two Words Are The Cornerstone Of Your Domestic Church

by Family

“I do.”

These two words are the cornerstone of the domestic church. In the context of the marital vows, these simple words have the power to join man and woman together, to make of two one, with the purpose of leading them together toward eternal life.  If these simple words can have this much weight on a person’s eternal reward, perhaps we should take seriously the words we use and investigate the manners and practices of how a family should communicate with one another.

Husband and Wife

The vow taken at the altar is a public vow. This deliberate and free promise made to God and His Church, must be fulfilled by reason of the virtue of religion. The husband and wife now, because of their words, “receive a kind of consecration in the duties and dignity of their state,” which allows them to “increasingly advance the perfection of their own personalities, as well as their mutual sanctification, and hence contribute jointly to the glory of God.” By upholding the vows taken at the altar, the spouses live out this mutual sanctification.

We promise to honor our spouse in our marriage vows; thus, we should always portray our spouse in the best possible light. Speaking poorly about a spouse is a severe breach of the vows made at the altar: “…to love her and to honor her all the days of your life.”  It is our sacred task to uphold the dignity of our spouse in our words and actions. We should imitate Christ, who seeks to present His bride, the Church, “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

Parent and Child

Virtue gives birth to love, and love brings innumerable blessings. Sometimes, that love and blessing is so real, we get the opportunity to name it. As Catholic parents, we should strive to teach our children to live virtuous lives and strive to bring them up to worship God. How do we do this? As we use our words at the altar to communicate a unique truth about marriage, we, too, must use our words in the home to communicate a unique truth about human life and purpose.

As a father of three boys, I have the privilege of playing all-time quarterback in many backyard football games. I hear my boys talk about the importance of the spin move, the advantages, and disadvantages of going for it on fourth down, and why one must get rid of the ball quickly if there is man coverage and a blitz coming at the same time. They continue to learn the strategy and philosophy of football to prepare themselves for possible Friday night games under the stadium lights.

My boys are slowly but surely learning the language of football. “If you want to be a football player, we need first to learn the language of football. Similarly, if we want to be virtuous, we need to use the language of virtue -that is, we must speak virtuously. As a holy priest once said, ‘If you want your children to be just, kind, and patient, you should use the words ‘just,’ ‘kind,’ and ‘patient.’ The words become the goal.” If we want to set our children up to live the life of virtue, it is important to make them familiar with the “strategy” and “philosophy” of the virtuous life.

The Whole Family

A healthy family life is an indispensable part of human development. As the Catechism puts it, “A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.” As parents, we want to set up our children for success by providing them with a real and meaningful prayer life. How do we do that? If the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life and the Eucharistic Celebration is the greatest and highest act of prayer, should we not, as a family, focus our attention on praying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass well? This is not easy, especially with younger children, as Holy Mass requires us to remain silent for much of the celebration. But we know that God’s first language is silence, so we should accustom our family to this language. Learning the language of silence in the home will prepare our children for silence in the Mass; likewise, the silence and contemplation of the Mass will improve family life at home.

There are many ‘languages’ in the domestic church, and each one has the potential either to bring us closer to God and one another or to separate us. By upholding our marriage vows, using virtuous words, and teaching our family the importance of silence, we can build our domestic church to honor our Lord for all the good He has given us.

Find More Tips To Make Your Domestic Church A Holy Place

Our relationship with God is not supposed to stay within the walls of our parish when we leave Sunday Mass. Instead, faith should transform our hearts, our families, and our homes into a welcoming place to encounter Christ.

But this isn’t always easy. Home life can be difficult and busy, and it’s easy to get distracted from the point of it all: raising a family of saints.

In Living Beyond Sunday: Making Your Home a Holy Place, married couples Adam and Haylee Minihan and David and Pamela Niles share what has helped them make their homes a place of encounter with God–a place where saints are being made.

Purchase your copy HERE.

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1 See Kent J. Lasnoski Vocation to Virtue: Christian Marriage as a Consecrated Life
2 Gaudium et spes, 48
3 The Order of Celebrating Matrimony, 63
4 Ephesians 5:27
5 St. John Chrysostom, On Marriage and Family Life6 See St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, IV, 58
7 Minihann and Niles, Living Beyond Sunday: Making Your Home a Holy Place, 55
8 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2225
9 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324
10 Homily of his Holiness Benedict XVI, Fourth Sunday of Easter, 3 May 2009
11 Cardinal Robert Sarah, The Strength of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise

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