Wednesday, 14 August 2013

How to make your home fireproof

Remember how, years ago, every Catholic home had at least one crucifix on the wall?

You always knew you were in a Catholic home when you saw the crucified Christ, ready to protect when needed.

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) knew a great deal about evil and how to counter it; she died in a Nazi concentration camp having converted from Judaism.

She wrote about the approaching fire:

"The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and Antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life.
Contemplate the Lord who hangs before you on the wood because he was obedient even to the death of the Cross.
 He came into the world not to do his own will, but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God.

Before you the Redeemer hangs on the Cross, stripped and naked, because he chose poverty.
Those who would follow him must renounce every earthly possession.
Stand before the Lord who hangs from the Cross with his heart torn open.
He poured out the blood of his heart in order to win your heart.
In order to follow him in holy chastity, your heart must be free from every earthly aspiration. Jesus Crucified must be the object of your every longing, of your every desire, of your every thought.

The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the Cross stands on high, and it cannot be burnt.
 The Cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love, and hope are taken up, right into the heart of the Trinity.

The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out?
 Contemplate the Cross: from the open Heart the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell.

 Through the faithful observance of the vows, you make your heart free and open; and then the floods of that divine love will be able to flow into it, making it overflow and bear fruit to the furthest reaches of the earth.

Through the power of the Cross you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity which you draw from the Divine Heart.

That charity enables you to spread everywhere the Most Precious Blood in order to ease pain, save, and redeem.
The eyes of the Crucified gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you. Do you wish seriously to renew your alliance with Him?

What will your response be? ‘Lord, where shall I go?

You alone have the words of life.’ Ave Crux Spes Unica!

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  1. I made the mistake once and asked an elderly friend of my father in law's was she a catholic as she talked about the saints and had a crucifix - no Anglo-Catholic

  2. Thank you for this. Today seems to be blessed with some cogent readings.

    As I converted only 3 years ago at an advanced age I have friends and relations who have no religious beliefs or dubious ones (2 people who profess to be pagans). I have a crucifix in my bedroom together with other devotional objects and when I rearrange my flat to make room for visitors I found it quite a difficult matter to know what to do about these. I give up my room if I have more than 1 visitor at a time. At first I used to clear them all away and put them in a box which would accommodate the crucifix upright. At least now I put the crucifix in the living room so that it is no longer hidden. And now there is a Stations of the Cross poster on my bedroom wall which I do not remove so maybe I am becoming more confident in my Catholic identity.

  3. oldconvert - please be encouraged to display your crucifix and devotional objects without anxiety. They are a witness to the great event of conversion even though you may encounter some prickly conversations! Today, I have my bible open at Proverbs 3:5 and it seems to be just for you - 'Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps'.

  4. Oldconvert, I echo Elaine's comment. Such displays of devotion are hard to continue with until you think what Christ suffered for us.
    I still inwardly have problems saying Grace before meals in public but, thoughts of the crucifixion soon bring me to my senses.

  5. Gervase, I heard of a female vicar who announced to a Catholic friend: "We're all Catholics now". Don't think so.

  6. Several years ago I placed a few objects of devotion in the parts of my house where they would be seen by visitors as well as by me. I wanted objects that were unconventional enough that people's eyes wouldn't glaze over when they saw them. I also wanted the objects to sneakily get around the knee-jerk hostile reaction of the anti-religous crowd. One of the objects is the Holy Trinity icon by Rublev and another is an olive wood carving done by an Arab Christian of the Holy Family's Flight into Egypt. Both are conversation pieces: people are drawn to icons as well as to a more unfamiliar part of the Christmas story. The wood carving also gives me a chance to talk about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land.

    I guess my point is that people are drawn to beauty and beauty engages the senses before people have the chance to put up their mental barriers to faith. You see it in museums all the time: onlookers drawn to religious paintings despite themselves because of the sheer beauty of what they're seeing. I think it's essential to bring that beauty into the objects of devotion in our homes because - separate from our own personal devotion - it's a wonderful, silent way of planting the seed of God in people's hearts.