These activities I have collected, and continue to collect, fall into three categories:
· Providing a Solid Foundation in Catholic Church Teachings
· Creating a Catholic Culture in Your Home
· Offering Opportunities for Silence
I believe in the importance of providing children with a solid foundation in Catholic teaching. Watered-down teaching doesn’t work, even if it has been done out of the (misguided) notion that Big Issues are too hard for children to understand. Nor does a watered-down catechism work if it is done to make teachings more compatible with (or palatable for) the secular culture.
I believe in the need for the presence of a Catholic culture. In some places in the world, or at some points in history, people are or have been surrounded with Catholic culture. They live or have lived in a society where the liturgical calendar has importance in daily life. They are or have been part of a community that centers on the Church. They live or have lived where the eye rests on beautiful architecture, tasteful art, wayside shrines, and the like. When living in a time or place where this isn’t the case, Catholics (all Christians!) need to work harder at creating such a culture.
I believe in the necessity to cultivate silence in our daily life. Even the most ardent secularist will admit to our over-saturation of stimulation. Noise is everywhere: music piped in at stores, televisions in every waiting room, smart phones always at the ready. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-technology. Media can be used for the good and should be used by Catholics. My husband keeps abreast of Catholic topics with a variety of podcasts he follows. On my phone, I have the complete Liturgy of the Hours, an ‘electronic stack’ of books, and a treasury of saints’ quotes I’ve collected. Still, there comes a time for putting those things away in order to embrace some quiet time. I believe in making a conscious effort to incorporate quiet time into the daily rhythm of life.
That’s where I’m coming from. Addressing these three concerns does not provide a guaranteed ‘perfect recipe for sanctity.’ However, these are the three areas I’ve found to be important in cultivating a contemplative life.