What: Build the Domestic Church
February is dedicated to honoring the Holy Family.
The family is the natural first building block of any civilization. If we don't focus on building a civilization of love within our homes - the domestic church - then how will our children understand what it means to love their neighbor as their brother?
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:
|1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called "the domestic church," a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.|
|2685 The Christian family is the first place of education in prayer. Based on the sacrament of marriage, the family is the "domestic church" where God's children learn to pray "as the Church" and to persevere in prayer. For young children in particular, daily family prayer is the first witness of the Church's living memory as awakened patiently by the Holy Spirit.|
Not only can this challenge be for parents in relationship to their children, but children can also take this challenge in relationship to their parents, siblings, or grandparents.
As we enter into the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday is February 22nd), many of us will be thinking of what we will be sacrificing. We often think of this in terms of time, talent, and treasure, so we've broken down the challenge ideas in the same way.
Pick your CHALLENGE:
Think about how you currently spend the bulk of your time each day. How can you allocate more time to being truly present for your family members? This may likely mean needing to cut back on other activities. Do you have PTO or vacation days that regularly go unused? Perhaps, you can take a little extra time off this month to spend with your family.
- Plan one more meal together per week
- Start a family game or movie night
- Read a book together
- Study Scripture together
- Take time for prayer as a family daily
- Go on a walk or other physical activity as a family
- Plan a family outing
- Set aside time to spend one-on-one with each family member
The Domestic Church is the school of human virtues and of Christian charity. What skills can you teach your children to help instill virtue or to use as charitable works for building up a Civilization of Love? We all have talents no matter how seemingly basic those skills may be. As we dedicate more of our time to being present for our family members, this will also provide opportunities to use the talents God gave us for building up the Domestic Church.
- Read with your children or have children read to a grandparent whose eyesight is no longer good enough
- Cook with your children and share your favorite recipe
- Write hand-written letters or cards to each of your family members
- Listen to your family members share about their day, dreams, worries, or whatever is on their hearts
- Talk to your children, sharing your own stories, life experience, and wisdom
- Build a fort with your kids or another hands on activity
Naturally, we think of money when we think of treasure. How are you currently spending any excess funds? Can you reallocate your funds to be spent on a familial need or want? What can you cut out or back on for this month?
You can also think of this in terms of what are you treasuring that is taking the place of your family. How can you change that priority so as to better treasure your loved ones.
- Cancel a subscription to something
- Cut out/cut back on buying coffee or snacks on the go
- Cut out/cut back on tobacco and/or alcohol
- Cut out/cut back on screen time
- Invite a family member to join you during a time that would otherwise be your alone time
Set your GOAL:
Depending on your challenge, you will want to set yourself a goal - whether it be material, financial, or spiritual. Some examples include:
- Spend one additional hour per week with your spouse and/or children
- Spend 15 additional minutes daily praying with your family
- Save up $50 for an special treat for a family member
- Get rid of two physical objects that detract from time spent with your family
Determine your AUDIENCE:
Who do you want to join you in your monthly challenge?
- Just yourself!
- Your family and friends
- Your parish
- Your social media friends
- Or whomever you want!
Once you know what you are going to do, click "Share" to tell us your idea! We encourage you to upload a picture of how you're building a civilization of love to help inspire others to take action too!