Holiness in the Family Home
The best way of life is a prayerful one, remembering God. When we rise in the morning, we pray, we prepare ourselves, and dedicate our day to God. We also ask our guardian angel and our patron saint to help us. We try our best during the day, whether at school, at work, or anywhere else we may be. We thank God before and after each meal. In the evening, we turn to Him again, repent our errors and sins, and ask Him to help us be better people the next day. Before bed, we ask our guardian angel to watch over us while we sleep.
By small acts of holiness, as much as by large acts, our homes can become joyful, and people can feel that the Spirit of God is present when they enter. We then have the quiet satisfaction of playing our small part in helping our family and friends find the way to heaven.
We are sometimes called upon to do big things in our lives, like accepting sickness and sadness. But there are very many more small things for us to do each and every day, like saying “good morning” or “good night” to each other, washing up after a meal, sweeping the paths, putting our clothes and toys away, looking after the baby, helping one of our parents or a sibling when they need a hand, and so on. One of the simplest things we can do is pay attention to one another: to listen with respect to our parents, our family, our friends. When someone else says or does something that we do not like, we could think twice before we speak harshly. Sometimes, it is best to say nothing, and other times, it is best to say something gentle. Because these small incidents in life arise very often, they give us many opportunities to be good.
If God has a place in our lives and our homes during the small everyday incidents, we will turn to Him at once during the big and unusual events, in hard times, when we really need Him. If He has always been welcome in our homes on ordinary days, when nothing special was happening, then we know that He will be here with us when the surprises, the sadness, and the hard times of life appear. His place will have been prepared by many small acts of kindness and consideration.
Tidiness and politeness are good in themselves: so, we should not think of our work around the house as “chores.” Instead, we should think of “duties” or “marks of responsibility.” We only give duties to people whom we believe are sufficiently mature to be able to perform them. We do not give a baby any duties, because the baby cannot even look after itself.
Let us not forget that it is good to see that these household responsibilities are done. They used to say “cleanliness is next to godliness.” It is not the same thing, but it is “near” because it is good to keep our houses clean: they are more pleasant and relaxing to be in, our belongings last longer, and there is less danger of infection.
Order is a valuable thing in any house. If things around you are ordered, then when you want something, you know where it is, and do not have to waste time looking for it. Also, other people can then find it when they need it. If we have been clean, everything will also be usable; but if things are left lying around, we might step on them and break them or hurt ourselves. You will also find that being tidy with your things helps you have a tidy mind, which helps you think things through.
We should work together with the other members of our family, helping one another. Our parents help us in many ways, and we help them as best we can. On some days, I will cook and you will clean, and on other days you will cook and I will clean. If everyone helps it doesn’t take long.
When our homes are tidy, and we all accept our responsibilities, we can sit at the table in peace with each other. We all shared in the work when it had to be done, and so we share in the spirit of being one family united under God. We should have the attitude that we all help each to keep a clean and orderly home, in a spirit of charity and cooperation, and that we are assuming our responsibilities with joy.
Our Lord and Our Lady did not avoid their responsibilities as children. They were not selfish. They were the perfect examples and role models. May we be like them. Guardian angel, help me to be a good member of my family. Amen.