"...for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:7

"O Lord,...you have been pleased to bless this house of your servant, so that it will always remain. It is you, O Lord, who blessed it, and it will be blessed forever." 1 Chr 17: 26-27

Sr. Marie De Mandat-Grancey Foundation
P.O.Box 275
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724 USA

" I am not a priest and cannot bless them, but all that the heart of a mother can ask of God for her children, I ask of Him and will never cease to ask Him." ~ Sister Marie

“The grace of our Lord be with us forever.” ~ Sr. Marie

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mary's House; A Model for the Domestic Church

There are so many things to learn and reasons to cherish Mary's House. All the implications for peace and the abundant grace and hope that disperses from this humble abode come to mind as primary and crucial in these times. But there are also other quiet lessons that Mary's House teaches. Perhaps this Advent we can ask Mary to help us in our own homes.
At Pentecost, and with new faith and fervor, the infant Church was born. The Apostles and disciples went out on a mission to bring the Gospel to all nations and all peoples. They went out two by two. They were on fire with the love of Christ and nothing could stop them from proclaiming the Truth. The message of the Gospel must be spread to the four corners of the world.
But what did the Apostles and disciples find in the four corners of the world? How did the Gospel live and grow? Well yes, of course, it grew in the established new Church; but in it's infancy, where was the Church located? Where did the Christians gather? In homes. And which home was so holy that it held and protected the very Mother of God? Mary's House. In Mary's House we see a model for the domestic church. We can follow Mary's lead as we make our own dwelling places holy for God.
We can make them havens of hospitality and peace to shelter those in need. Those in need may very often be our very own family members; adult children struggling to begin a life in very challenging economic times, not knowing how to begin or where to begin; teenage children in trouble and waffling in this difficult world who need an anchor and safe harbor and words of comfort and truth; our aging parents and relatives who can no longer live alone; a friend who needs to cry at our kitchen table; a child who has a story to tell and no one to listen to it. Like Our Lady in her House in Ephesus all those years ago, we can open our doors and hearts to all those whom God sends and put their needs first, provide safety, and raise them up from weariness, sadness and even despair into the light of hope and faith. Serving a good meal with a smile and giving a hug and a warm clean bed can at times do more than any other act of charity...especially if the precious soul has been downtrodden and lost for a while.
We can also make our homes places of prayer. I wonder what pictures hung on Our Lady's walls in her House? We know there was a Cross. We know there was Mass. We know that she carved the Stations of the Cross in the hill behind her house with her very own hands. We know that she prayed. Our homes, too, can become places of prayer. Real down-to-earth, nitty-gritty, prayer. The kind that send kids off to school with a joined Hail Mary and a reminder "Bless yourself on the way out!"...and provides the Holy Water font at the front door. Impromtu prayer times that have no inhibitions when facing any troubling issue and with all zeal and courage begin with "let's sit down and say a quick prayer for help with this right now"...then do it and trust in God. How about Grace before meals?...maybe quick, maybe distracted, but done. Consider a candle lit before the crucifix on Fridays. Is there anyting that can bring more peace to a home then to gather the family after dinner, before homework and T.V. and pray a decade of the Rosary? Does it really matter if it takes 20 days to complete all 20 Mysteries? We are wrapping our beloved family members safely in the grace giving, powerful Rosary. That is all that matters. Knowing about the Liturgical Season and whose Feast Day it is, is a good start to sharing it with others. Also, remember that the "heart" of our home can come with us in our prayer as we travel, vacation, or dine out. It's such a simple way to be a sign of faith to the world, to witness to our Savior and Redeemer. It's so easy to take a minute to say a prayer. It can become a natural way of living for our families. These little seeds of prayer can grow into beautiful flowers of deep and abiding faith over time. These flowers are certainly the kind of flowers Our Lady would choose to decorate her home with!
And for all those who live alone - singles, widows, widowers - who else is a better example of spending her solitary time in peace, prayer, and hospitality than Our Lady? Although waiting to go to heaven, she spent her later years in union with Christ and living all He taught. We cannot go wrong following her for she always points to her Son and He saves.
Mary's House in Ephesus is our model for our own little domestic church be it filled with many family members or filled with one precious soul. Let's put this intention in prayer this Advent and ask our Mother to help us make a happy, holy home to welcome her Little Baby Son...the King of Kings. It's never too late to begin and there is a bit of tidying to do to make our homes like Mary's House. After all we await the King! Maranatha!
Mary, please help us to make our house like your House; our hearts like your Heart.
We have Sister Marie to thank for giving us Mary's House, model of the domestic church. Pray for us, Sister Marie, we beg you. Help our houses to grow in holiness modeled after Mary's House. Sister Marie, thank you for this treasure, Mary's House, this little fountain of grace that continues to quench the thirst of the parched children of God in this world, in these times, with hope for peace and lessons for living.