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5 ways to bring the positive impact of Mass back home

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” “Thanks be to God.” With the rite of dismissal and the last strains of the closing hymn, we pour out the doors of the church and resume family routines. Having listened to the word of God and consumed the Bread of Life, we have the foundation to renew our relationships. How do we bring peace into our home when we return from Mass?

Sabbath Decisions. God’s creation flows in rhythmic cycles, soothing breezes and thundering storms, ebbing tidewaters and the returning flow of waves. We are creatures of rhythm, too, and God calls us to attend to that rhythm in order to  restore our balance. Instead of being led through the day by habit, Jesus calls us to choose the “better part” as Mary did while her sister, Martha, labored to serve Him. Family harmony comes from God’s commandment for weekly renewal.

At the Works of Your Hands I Shout for Joy. (Psalm 92:5 – A Sabbath song) Awareness is blunted in the restless pace of life; it takes effort to observe our surroundings. What experiences heighten your awareness? When have you felt God’s hand working in your life? What evokes gratefulness? For a person who works in an office, the physical work of gardening may bring peace. Another person may be restored by a time of quiet reflection, enjoying music or dreaming by a fire. Talk about experiences that bring “shouts of joy” into each family member’s life. Then make a conscious effort to allow time for these activities.     
    Remember the glee of a treasure hunt when you were a child?  Ask God to show the path to life’s treasures at this moment in time. Be open to God’s response, willing to join St. Francis of Assisi, as a  “fool for Christ.”

5 Ways to find spiritual treasure at home:
1  Spend time with children or grandchildren making homemade toys. Children radiate joy playing with a toy they helped create. Fill a sock with cotton balls, secure it with a rubber band, and show how buttons can be sewn on for eyes (or for younger children use marking pens). Do you have a skill that brings you joy? Share it in a way that focuses on the process rather than the final result!
2  Dig out old photographs and use them to start a tradition of story-telling. Use the pictures to help retrieve memories.
3  Plan an adventure! If you usually travel by car, then take a city bus to a nearby park or restaurant. The same sights will look quite different from a new vantage point. Or set up a tent in your backyard, bring out a deck of cards, and grill dinner!
4  Hunt for a tiny example of God’s handiwork and share it. The blue periwinkle may be overlooked in a garden of irises and tulips but it has a  quiet beauty all its own.
5  Share your reaction to the Sunday Scriptures and homily. Did a verse or a theme stand out? The Archdiocese of Chicago publishes At Home with the Word: 2002. This book includes the readings for each Sunday as well as reflection and discussion questions. It is available through the St. Francis Retreat Center Bookstore.

by Dr. Cathleen McGreal

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