Heaven Door Review: Toolbox inspection
Perhaps this video series on the domestic church seems a bit complicated; just more work during confusing times, another tedious task. That may be true if someone thinks it all must be done at once, all up and ready to go yesterday. Heaven Doors are a place for prayer. Therefore, prayerful consideration must accompany this grass roots family faith maturation.
Consider the installation of a Heaven Door similar to planting a seed, rather than a fully-grown potted plant. The seed must be buried in the ground where it invisibly germinates. Then one morning it surprises us as the first shoot resurrects from an earthen grave.
Gradually, it matures into a plant and after some time it starts forming a bud. Then the next surprise appears: the first flower blooms. It all started with a single seed, which when compared to the flower is infinitely different from the tiny, pebble or debris-like seed. Laying a spiritual foundation, which will last, means discerning a concrete place for entering the household of the Blessed Trinity, encountering the saints of the ages. Like Rome, it was not built in a day.
Such growth and adaptation takes time. Rushing the process means initial enthusiasm will quickly wither out, like the grass in the sun recounted by Jesus in the Gospel story of the sower. First, consider place and patron. These considerations may mean a few attempts; you may have to shift it around a few times before finding the right place. The final goal of place needs to keep in mind a permanent, prominent, and easily accessible location in the home. This means that when someone has an urgent or pressing need, the path to the family Heaven Door is not long, obstructed, or hidden.
This series suggests a kitchen or dining room corner. Proximity to table and chairs means you’re ready at any moment for an unexpected guest, like Jesus knocking at your door (Revelation 3:20). Remember, every family member has to have easy access to gather spiritual fruits as well as share each other’s challenging times. There will also be times when your entire family will gather at this celestial Door.
The Heaven Door also witnesses to your family’s faith, therefore, its position needs to be prominent and not hidden from guests and visitors. They too, may be inspired by your reverence. That’s person-to-person evangelization. Heartfelt inspiration begins with the relationship your home nurtures with the family’s patron. Selecting a family patron for your heaven window may necessitate a few suggestions, considering some options by trial and error in discovering who fits best. Try surfing the web, or better yet, ask one of your grandparents, then proceed with keen eye open at estate/garage sales or flea markets.
Think of what image of a particular group of human beings (Madonna and Child, Holy Family, Blessed Trinity, Emmaus Gospel event, etc.) and the life event it depicts. How does it speak to you? Does it encourage you to listen to and converse with the saints, begging for inspiration, help, and protection for the entire household? This too may take time, a few tries (computer prints), and some intimate group and personal prayer. Again, this resource prefers an icon depicting at least two people relating to each other. Their relationship/s will lift up yours in frustrating and trying moments. Of late, I am considering two groups to add to my Heaven Door for protection: the Archangels —Michael (protection), Gabriel (good news), Rafael (healing), and Ariel (light); or another (from a photo I took at the home of Elizabeth and Zeccariah) of Mama Mary spreading her expansive cloak over centuries of her sons and daughters.
As this aspect matures into more concrete reality, don’t overlook the Second fundamental hinges of Heaven Door spirituality: Sacred Scriptures and light. A battery operated, self-timing praying candle reflects a powerful Scripture image I remember from a title of a weekly, late 1950s, religious television series: Your Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet, a Light Onto My Path (Psalm:119:105). It proclaims intimacy, solicitude, care, protection, and spiritual presence.
Once these basic pairs are in place, place/patron and Bible/light, let time pass and you’ll find the remaining tools easily. Global testimony reveals believers of all faiths use concrete tools to connect with the spiritual life. These are prayer tools, gathered in a Heaven Door Tool Box. The fundamental Catholic and relationship-restorative tools: an image of the family Patron, Sacred Scriptures and a praying Lite, over time may be augmented by other prayer traditions.
In the home a prayer tool enables, expresses, and strengthens the divine-human communion as well as its interpersonal aspect, a believing family. That is why the tool enacts “action prayer” in an analogous way each of the Seven Sacraments effect a superabundance of sanctifying grace. Water as a sacramental “tool” washes away sin, consuming consecrated Bread and Wine nourish souls, strengthening the Communion of believers with Jesus’ Body and Blood, oil exorcises a Baptismal candidate, only to enlighten that person with gladness (Holy Chrism), strengthening and Confirming them to take on the mission of Christ. That same fragrant “oil of gladness” anoints the hands of the priest which bless and offer sacrifice for their people. Yet another oil calls the healing power of the Holy Spirit onto a sick person. Anointed hands of the priest bless couples in the bond of Matrimony, as those of Bishops ordain priests who ensure Jesus’ real presence in the world. As each sacrament has a sacramental tool, family worship has prayer tools.
Prayer Beads: Rosaries or Chaplets are at the top of Heaven Door tools and may be simply kept in the Tool Box. At least one visible Rosary (the Author adds a Divine Mercy Chaplet) is needed at the Heaven Door reminding each member to daily connect with heaven. This connection is just as essential as charging up the smart-device. No power means its dead, very similar to loosing heaven power.
Other personal favorites will surface at holydays, anniversaries, seasonal transitions, and personal celebrations. Let this place take on a custom flavor and develop organically, and over time to express some uniqueness of the soul of your household. Remember, coming together gradually will mean the restored human-divine relationship will last even into the moment your children begin building their own homes.
Don’t rush into a shopping spree. Gather what you already have at home. However, put things aside only for sacred use: an old, used tin pie plate or metal tart form for “holy smoke,” washed mustard or canning jar for holy water with bottle brush sprinkler, some used/favorite vase, etc. Store these items in your toolbox. When needed place them at your Heaven Door.
As time passes, you’ll start noticing things around which may be more appropriate for your needs or to your liking. However, before purchasing anything (except perhaps for the battery-operated praying light), start with what’s already in your house. Expressive of my family’s tradition, at least during the 50-days of Easter, I keep a blessed “written” Easter egg, in addition to blessed palm weavings and pussy willows at the Heaven Door. In an upcoming Vid we’ll discuss the possibilities for storing holy cards of personal patrons and funeral cards of deceased loved ones.
Next Saturday: “Meal Evangelization”
All video content of St Casimir’s Series on the Domestic Church and Tandem Blog Articles © CzMKrysa, Buffalo, NY April-July 2020.