Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 22, 2010
Holiness is found in the home
Friday night, Sunday morning are deeply united, says educator
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - People view the parish church as God's house, but few have the same consciousness of God's presence in the home.
Home is a complicated, multi-functional place where work and leisure co-exist, where family relationships are diverse and domestic attachments have become temporary.
Even Mother Teresa said there is little love within homes anymore. Parents have no time for their children and families are too busy to enjoy each other's presence without disruption.
David Wells has taken an altogether different approach to home life. He recognizes the hand of God in everything, even in the sameness of day-to-day living. His overall message is that home is a holy place.
"Where is the Church going to place holiness - in the spectacular moments or in the ordinary and the everyday? The Church situates our holiness in the ordinary. What it calls us to do is start to see it everywhere.
"This is the challenge of our families: Can you find God in the mundane? Can you see God in all things?" asked Wells, the keynote speaker at the Catholic Conference 2010, held March 12-13 at the Mayfield Inn & Suites Conference Centre. The conference was sponsored by the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association.
In showing the grandeur of God, Wells didn't show images of fireworks or majestic mountains or anything extraordinary. Instead, he showed images that were, at first glance, unspectacular. There was a photo of men waiting at a bus stop. There were pictures of children playing. In such places, he said, one truly finds holiness.
Married with three children in Devon, England, Wells knows all about the value of a healthy home life. He recognizes that our domestic lives are holy too, and that home life is not only a place of privacy, but also a living expression of God's grace.
"It's easy to love people far away. It's not always easy to love people close to us. Bring love into your home for this is where the love for each other will start. That is a profoundly Catholic understanding," said Wells.
He explained with insight and wit how to rediscover the mission of the domestic church. It starts with unconditional love in the home.
"The reason I stand before you today is not because I'm better than anybody else here. I stand before you because my parents loved me. They introduced me to the one who first loved us," he said.
Wells taught religious education at a high school in England. He is now co-director of the formation department in the Plymouth Diocese. A well-known speaker, he has presented seminars all over the world.
PRESENCE OF GOD
He provided three reasons why home is a holy place. Home is holy because God's love is present. Home is a holy place because God's presence graces all creation. Home is a holy place because family relationships mirror God-in-relationship.
Paraphrasing Pope Benedict, he said the language of the family is the language of peace.
"Be gentle with people," said Wells. "A sure sign of love is the concern to not wound the other person."
Explaining the concept of finding God in everything, he used the parallel between Friday night and Sunday morning. When people think of Friday night, common ideas that spring to mind are getting out, letting go, laughter and dancing. When people think of Sunday morning, they think of spirituality, connection, reflection and truth.
"Catholics refuse to separate one column of ideas from the other. There are no tensions or separation between spirit and truth, between Friday night and Sunday morning. That's why you can go into a nightclub and find God there. Do not divide the divine from the human," concluded Wells.
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