Lord, give me the grace to recognize each daily opportunity to grow nearer to You through the arduous struggle of practicing virtue.
“Make two homes for thyself. One actual home and the other a spiritual home which thou are to carry with thee always.” St Catherine of Siena
God has etched into every human heart a deep, persistent longing for home. A true home is so much more than just a shelter and a place to store your belongings. What makes a house a home… a home that is a reflection of the eternal home God has prepared for us? These are the qualities that my heart desires in my home: safety, peace, authentic mutual self-giving love, a sense of belonging and of being seen, known, and loved, compassion, honesty, and laughter. So many of us are not living and thriving in true homes but rather are living and merely surviving in houses with an atmosphere of fear, anxiety, lies, conflict, and even violence.
Whether your actual home is a reflection of our heavenly home or not, Christ is speaking to you when He says in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” The family of the Holy Trinity desires that we create a spiritual home within our hearts where They may abide. What comfort and joy this brings to our troubled souls to know that we have a true home deep within us that as St. Catherine of Siena said we are to carry with us always. Wherever we may go, whatever the atmosphere we must live in, we can always be at home with Jesus.
Our spiritual homes require maintaining, cleaning and decorating just as our actual homes do. And of course, we must furnish our spiritual home with a beautiful collection of the virtues. This may seem like a difficult endeavor but take heart… we do not build our spiritual homes on our own! The Bridegroom stands at the door of our hearts and knocks.
“Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is covered with dew, my locks with the drops of night” (The Song of Songs 5:2), for see “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). Will you open to Me and let Me make My home, My place of rest and delight, here within your heart?
The architect and builder of our spiritual homes is Christ. He awaits our opening to Him and inviting Him to partner with us in creating a safe and love-filled home where together we may always find rest and delight, safety and peace. A powerful tool He has provided us with for this endeavor is our imaginations, the gift of creativity. In a time of prayer, speak to the Spouse of your soul and ask Him to guide you in imagining your spiritual home. Perhaps the home in your heart resembles His childhood home in Nazareth, or a candle lit adoration chapel, or a quaint cottage by a lake.
The Bride and Bridegroom of The Song of Songs speak of their home in these verses: “Our little bed is flowery. The beams of our house are of cedar, the rafters of cypress” (1:16-17).
William of St. Thierry describes in beautiful detail the consolations of creating a spiritual home in our hearts and how we are to carry this home with us always in his commentary on these verses, in particular in the line “our little bed is flowery”:
“Upon this bed takes place that wonderful union and mutual fruition – of sweetness, and of joy incomprehensible…, between man and God, the created spirit and the Uncreated. They are named Bride and Bridegroom… In the sorrows of the present life, this bed is the sole refuge for the children of the Bridegroom from persecutions and anguish; their only rest amid labors and their consolation amid sufferings… Blessed is the soul which is constantly seeking the face of the Lord, after the anguish of bodily labors, after the tribulations of spiritual exercises, ever has ready deep within itself a home of quiet and a little flowery bed… whenever she must go forth… she must always leave behind something of herself which will always keep her place… always cling by a strong bond of love that she may not stray too far away… let not the force of outward obligations ever succeed in withdrawing the Bride’s whole soul from the enthrallment of inner sweetness.”
My Jesus, Bridegroom of my soul, let us build a true home in my heart. Come with Your sweet love, tender mercy, and unshakeable peace as our foundation and walls. I offer as furnishings my love, humility, prayers, sacrifices, gratitude, and praise. May our little flowery bed be a safe, quiet, and joyful refuge from the world and its demands. Cling to me, dear Lord, by a strong bond of love so I do not wander too far away from home. Amen.
Copyright 2021, Laura Ercolino