Spotlight on the Family 4: Christian Decor
A father’s three-year-old son was playing quietly with his trains in his room—too quietly maybe. The father went to check on him. As he looked into the room, he saw the boy get up from the trains, run to the statue of the Sacred Heart, pick it up and kiss it. “Why did you do that?” the father asked. The boy replied, “Because he’s a good guy.” A question posed to students and retreatants is, If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Here is a similar one: Would someone visiting your home know that you were Christian? Mentally walk through the rooms of your house. What signs are there of your faith in Jesus Christ? These items are not merely for show, but to remind your family (and others) of God and prompt you to pray. Your home doesn’t need to look like a religious goods store, but shouldn’t something in it reflect your faith?
A prayer table is found in some Catholic homes, notably Byzantine Catholic homes. A stand or a shelf covered by a lovely scarf can serve as a prayer table where your family gathers to pray or for significant moments: the announcing of an engagement or a new job. On it might be the family Bible, a candle, flowers, a crucifix, statues or pictures of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or patron saints of the family members. As the Church year unfolds, items can be displayed, such as a replica of the saint of the day, an Advent wreath, a nativity set, and palm branches. Children will enjoy setting up the prayer table and changing it to represent the liturgical seasons.
The centerpiece of the dining room table can also reflect Church celebrations. For example, the Advent wreath or an arrangement of Easter eggs. may be set where you gather to eat.
Here is a list of items found in Christian homes. Which one(s) can be found in your home?
Bible, maybe with a beautiful cover
Religious statues: perhaps you’ve had an enthronement of the Sacred Heart
Framed religious pictures on the wall
Framed Scripture verse or prayer
Blessed palm, plain or braided, slipped behind a picture or mirror
Holy water font at a doorway or holy water bottle
Holy oil, such as St. Anne oil
Catholic calendar with church feasts marked
Religious screen saver on the computer
Epiphany markings over the doorway
Catholic literature: books, magazines, newspapers
CDs with Christian music
Religious statue in your yard: Sacred Heart, Mary, St. Francis
Religious item in or on your car
Were any of these in your home when you were a child? What did they mean to you?
I just may have most of them in my home. I had a friend embroider a design on the cloth I had. It was brown to reflect my Franciscan spirituality as I am 3rd order OFS. She put a cross with the Holy Spirit in gold embroidery thread. I have St. Francis, the holy family, an angel, Mary holding Jesus as a baby on a platter, and a bible. That’s my prayer table in my living room to pray at daily.
Ah, St. Francis is a favorite of mine. My home church was St. Francis of Assisi in Cleveland. I was fortunate to visit Assisi in Italy, where there is a beautiful statue of him outside. With his love of creation, St. Francis makes a good patron saint for saving our earth home.