During this time when we are confined to our homes, we can take the opportunity to do Church at home and get closer to God. Indeed, our home is truly a domestic Church.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1655) explains that “from the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all [their] household." When they were converted, they desired that "their whole household" should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world”.

The Christian communities born after Pentecost were organized into families, groups of families and houses. In the early Church the House Church was the cornerstone of the local Church.

According to Saint John Chrysostom we are to prepare two tables : one for food, the other for reading the word of God: "Make your house a church”, he says, “where there is indeed psalmody, prayer, hymns of the prophets, this one is not mistaken who wants to call such a meeting a church” (Saint John Chrysostom, Exp. in Ps 41 , 2; PG 55, 158).

Pope Paul VI teaches that the family, "like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates.(...) such a family becomes the evangelizer of many other families, and of the neighborhood of which it forms part.(Evangelii Nuntiandi - 71). Pope John Paul II, for his part, insists on the missionary dimension of the family explaining that the family "has the mission to guard, reveal and communicate love" (Familiaris Consortio - 17).

The Holy Family of Nazareth that is the model of the domestic Church: "The house of Nazareth, in fact, is a school of prayer, where one learns to listen, to meditate, to penetrate the profound meaning of the manifestation of the Son of God, taking the example of Mary, Joseph and Jesus" (Benedict XVI, General Audience, Wednesday, December 28, 2011). “May an appreciation of this stupendous and indispensable moment of spiritual opportunity return to us, deafened as we are by so much tumult, by so much noise, by so many voices of our chaotic and frenzied modern life. The silence of Nazareth teaches us recollection, reflection and eagerness to heed the good inspirations and words of true teachers, it teaches us the need and the value of preparation, of study, of meditation, of a personal and interior life, of prayer which is seen by God alone in secret." (Paul VI, Speech in Nazareth, January 5, 1964).

Doing Church at home is therefore to seek to imitate the Holy Family who had Jesus at its centre. In doing so we live the different dimensions of the Church: prayer, catechetic, evangelism, fellowship and solidarity (charity).

Finally, let us be aware that putting Jesus at the heart of our lives is above all an attitude and an inner disposition, that of being with him, that of thinking of him, that of loving him and of wanting to share his mission. For where the love of Jesus is, there is the Church!

In the columns to the left and right of this blog, you will find links to inspire you and help you live from home the different dimensions of a domestic Church.

 Pierre-Alain Giffard

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