Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur recommends two books that led to her renewed appreciation of what it means to cultivate a home.
This year has seen us spend more time at home than ever before. As a result, Theology of Home: Finding the Eternal in the Everyday and Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Homemaking are extremely relevant for our current situation.
The first thing you notice about this set of books is that they are extremely beautiful. These hardcover books overflowing with full-color photographs are designed to be displayed. They are a delight for the eyes as well as the mind. While the photos show magazine-worthy spaces and capture perfect family moments, the authors make a point of noting that “carefully curated rooms and meticulously manicured yards are wonderful, but there is great wisdom in knowing that our houses don’t have to be lavish or even conventionally comfortable for them to be perfect.” Even if you feel that your home could never be magazine-worthy, there is something of value for you in these pages.
Theology of Home: Finding the Eternal in the Everyday focuses on making home not only a physically pleasing place, but also a refuge for the soul. It invites us to “think purposefully about how to make our homes on earth better equipped to get all those living in them to the Father’s house.” Our homes should be domestic churches, places “filled with the Father’s love.” Love, willing the good for the others who share our lives, should be at the center of all that we do in our homes.
Some of the ways we make our homes more inviting and places of refuge include through our use of light, food, order, comfort, and hospitality. Our homes should be places of safety, offering each person who dwells within “a deep assurance that we are known and loved in a way that is unshakeable.”
Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Homemaking focuses less on the physical environment and more on the person who creates the environment of the home. The word “homemaker” can have a negative connotation today, but the authors truly embrace and elevate the term, making it something even a career-minded woman can celebrate. Whether a woman works outside the home or not, she is still the heart of her home, the one who sets the tone for all who live there. There is a concerted effort in this book to highlight women of all walks and stages of life, focusing on what they do to make their houses homes.
Homemaking is “the deeply purposeful art of sheltering and nurturing the souls of others, offering them a place to grow into the people God intends them to be.” Some of the topics covered in these pages include being fruitful, contemplative, and resourceful. Themes of potential, facing obstacles, cultivating community, and gathering your (spiritual) harvest are also discussed. Perhaps the best feature in these pages is the profiles of individual women sharing their own different ways of being homemakers.
The Theology of Home books led me to a deeper understanding and renewed appreciation of what it means to cultivate a home. These books would be a lovely gift for any of the Catholic women in your life.
Copyright 2020 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
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About the Author
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur has a Master’s Degree in Applied Theology and is the author of The Catholic Baby Name Book, The Power of Forgiveness, and Our Lady of La Salette: A Mother Weeps for Her Children. A mother of three, she is the editor of TodaysCatholicHomeschooling.com as well as a freelance writer and editor.