The Rule of Charity in Your Domestic Church

As in life, we all need rules in our homes. Everything and everyone would decend into chaos without them. So, as parents, we discern the best rules and routines to establish in our family life. No doubt we come up with good ones that serve admirable purposes. But it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that there is one rule that should govern and give meaning to all others — the rule of charity.

Love. “For the greatest of these is love,” writes the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. One of the reasons we establish rules in our households is to support the development of virtue in all its members. However, it is impossible to truly develop any other virtue without love. For as St. Paul says earlier in that same passage, though I may do any number of worthy things “but have not love, I am nothing.”

I recently came across these words of St. Vicent de Paul:

“Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity.” (Epistle 2546)

I sat with these words for a moment, contemplating their relevance to my family’s life. Most of our rules and routines at home stem from a spirit of love. In fact, because we love our children we establish rules that will move them toward truth, goodness, and beauty. But I realize that in the middle of enforcing rules and the disciplining that comes when they are broken, I can often find myself removed from (dare I say in conflict with) the loving intentions that birthed the rules from the beginning. Continue reading “The Rule of Charity in Your Domestic Church”

“Family Time” for Every Domestic Church

We started homeschooling this year, as our oldest began Kindergarten. In creating our approach to education in the home, I quickly became aware of a phenomenon on the homeschool blogosphere and podcast circut called Morning Time. I immediately implemented it, and it has been the most wonderful part of our daily routine, even (especially) on far-from-perfect days. Experiencing the fruit in my young family, and hearing from countless parents who have practiced Morning Time for decades, I believe that this communal activity is essential for every family, regardless of your school/work lifestyle.

What is Morning Time? Well, contrary to it’s name, it doesn’t have to happen in the morning. For some families it happens in the afternoon or in the evening. In short, it is a communal gathering of the whole family–across ages and across various subjects–to seek after truth, beauty and goodness. Cindy Rollins, the woman who bascially birthed the concept of Morning Time over 30 years ago, describes it this way: “…as a liturgy, Morning Time reminds us what we should love.” Continue reading ““Family Time” for Every Domestic Church”

Prayer in Your Domestic Church

 

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Philipp Schumacher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A thriving domestic church — your family home and life of faith — is central to the faith formation of you, your spouse, and your children. One of the most important elements of family faith life is prayer. Family prayer time is the space where everyone in the home learns how to enter into the prayers of the whole church, and through this family ritual little children are exposed to “the Church’s living memory” (CCC 2685).

Perhaps prayer time has not been part of your family life; it’s never to late to start. You may be a young family with little ones, and you want to establish a growing family prayer routine. Or, you may be a family with older children who aren’t used to corporate prayer. As with various spiritual disciplines of the domestic church, many people are a bit overwhelmed about where to begin. It is easy to look at all the possible expressions of family prayer time and do one of two things: give up completely or try to do everythingContinue reading “Prayer in Your Domestic Church”