We know it isn’t politically correct to judge people and circumstances these days. And yes, the strongest directive that Christ and Scripture gives us is not to judge others. These things said, let me violate these instructions for the sake of making a teaching moment out of this column.
I can’t (won’t) go in to details or circumstances in this. Recently I was able to spend a little time with some people -- a family including three children. On the surface, this home is typical upper mid-level Americana: fenced yard, nice landscaping, good sized garage... inside there are four bedrooms, a large, mostly unused living room, a separate family room and a wonderful kitchen. There’s a large high-def television with an oft-used DVD player, a Nintendo Wii... and loads... absolutely loads of video games available through the Wii or hand-held types. The bedrooms for the kids have lots of Better Homes and Gardens appeal... colorful and stylishly decorated. The walls and shelves in various parts of the home have loads of motivational sayings and homey type pictures.
What was missing -- what is missing is virtually any indication of or awareness of the Lord. There is some (non-Catholic) faith-practice with this family.
The kids aren’t faith-formed. They are Wii and DVD and ‘what’s-on-the TV?’ formed. If they go to a church service -- I’m understanding that it is one of the ‘fun-room’ type faith practices with maybe a little family time for songs and a closing prayer.
Now mind you -- I think there are a lot of Catholic families that have the same sort of home environment -- where church, if practiced, is something that is fully relegated to 50 minutes on Sundays. Many Catholic families search for or want the same sort of feel-good faith practice as suggested above.
Here me - hear me please. These are God-less homes. The less said about God... the less God is a daily part of life... the less the word Jesus is mentioned... the less that grace before meals is said (except perhaps on Thanksgiving Day)... the more comfortable the residents will be.
In the town where we live -- most every -- and I mean virtually all non-Catholic churches were closed on Christmas Day. Imagine -- the reason for the season -- His name is the first syllable of Christian faith and the churches which proclaim this name -- the most holy name of Jesus Christ -- they remain closed on Christmas Day. Now this sounds like I’m making a direct link between the family home picture I’ve shared above -- that this is caused by non-Catholic churches. I don’t mean that at all. But I am making a case that we have God-less homes because we have become more God-less in our places of worship. Unfortunately this even happens in many of the 45 minute Sunday Mass Catholic Churches.
We have homes with no crucifixes.... no pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus... no pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are homes where if it happens at all -- kids are told to say their prayers by parents who don’t come in and join with them.
Now if you visit our home -- you might say something like, "Gosh did you see his office? He’s got a dozen crucifixes." (Well yes, but I do collect them and have a small area of wall-display of them.) I also have pictures of the Blessed Virgin, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and some of the couples I’ve married. I’m comfortable about being around ‘love.’ And Jesus and His Mother and His crucifix are signs of love. So too are the people who are at their happiest -- in their new love just after they have been married.
I don’t think many people would want to decorate their home or office the way I have. Yet I’ll tell you there was a time that we were a completely God-less home. God was waiting for us to open our hearts and home to Him. Once we did that He moved in. And we no longer are a God-less home. If you live in a God-less home -- and if this column invokes a desire for change -- pray about it. Start slowly. But start to invite the founder of our faith and the center of our lives into that position in your home.
Copyright 2010 Deacon Tom Fox
About the Author
Deacon Tom Fox and his wife Dee are co-hosts of the CATHOLIC VITAMINS Podcast for over 6 1/2 years. Tom has also been a member of the Catholic Mom columnists team for eight years, and was a regular contributor to the Catholic Moments Podcast for three years. Most recently, Deacon Tom has been leading a project to bring Catholic radio to the north central Arizona community where he and Dee reside. Blessings!