Home is Heaven for Beginners

“Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners” (Charles H. Parkhurst). How very true this statement is! Think about it. Where do you feel most comforted, most loved? Hopefully, you answered home. Home is where we go for reassurance, for intimacy, for guidance, for protection. At least that is what home is supposed to be.

It is unfortunate that we live in a world that has so many broken homes. If home truly is heaven for beginners then no wonder we have a crisis of faith, or as Pope Benedict XVI says, “a crisis of Christian hope.” With so many divorces, so much anger and resentment pouring out of our homes, it is easy to see that we have lost our sense of faith, our sense of hope.

I look at my home and see that I am failing at creating heaven for my children. I’m often short with them and snap at them….not because they are doing anything wrong, but because I’m selfish and don’t want to be bothered by them or the noise they are making. The home truly does (or at least is supposed to) interpret heaven. It is my first (and most important) job as a husband and a father to ensure that my wife and children get to heaven. Am I living that example? Sometimes I do. Other times, well, not so much.

I need to start being aware of this statement. I need to live my life as though not only my salvation depended on it, but the salvation of my wife and children as well. Because it does. I’m responsible for ensuring that they make it to heaven. But I’m not alone in this. My wife, too has responsibilities. She is responsible for making sure I, and our children, make it to heaven. Oftentimes I think she is doing a better job at this than I. We as a family, as a home, must work together to bring heaven, however amateur it may be, into our home.

This quest of ensuring heaven is in our home also extends beyond our family. Anyone who comes into our home, in fact everyone we encounter, must also see heaven. This is a big responsibility. We must live our lives in such a way that everyone can see a slice of heaven in us. Our words and actions must be selfless, must be loving, must be charitable. Through much prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can reflect heaven to others. Doing so will renew that Christian hope that is missing in our world.

Heavenly Father, I desire to be close to you. I desire to reflect heaven to all whom I encounter, especially my family and those closest to me. Send forth your Spirit that I may be renewed in your love and be a light to others. Amen

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Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 4:54 am  Comments (9)  

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  1. O.K., "heaven on earth," this is not Catholic… not quite heresy but close to the doctrine of living saints. See this Chesterton on doctrine of living saints: http://www.catholicfemina.com/2009/07/gk-chesterton-on-predestination.html
    The Catholic family is called the domestic church, not heaven on earth. We are meant to live and operate as the church does with hierarchy and authority. Families have rules, and repent. Parkhurst was a protestant reformer and a heretic. I would be very careful looking at anti-Catholic theology. Jesus said we are to receive our reward in the next world. Home is a place to learn the faith learn how to have a relationship with God through good holy parents. True intrinsic goodness can bring happiness, but it is not heaven on earth, going to heaven is our goal.

  2. I understand that "heaven on earth" is not Catholic. The theology of heaven on earth is not what I was conveying, nor did I imply that this is a true doctrine.

    What I was conveying is that we all need to strive to obtain heaven. We all have the ability to, and the responsibility to, reflect heaven however, amateur or imperfect that reflection may be.

    We are not to (and cannot) bring heaven to earth, and I was not saying this. Heaven is a place of safety, security, love, intimacy, etc. These are all characteristics that we can, and should, bring into our homes and into our interactions with everyone. This is the whole point of my blog entry. I'm no theologian (it's above my pay grade) but there is nothing theologically unsound to what I'm saying.

  3. Oh, and the Parkhurst quote. That came from a book by a Catholic author that I'm reading. I'm not finished with it yet, but there is nothing theologically unsound to what the author is saying so far.

  4. I am sorry if I misunderstood what you were saying. I am always cautious of any anti-Catholic writer, and I do believe this statement is a punch line to promote reformed protestantism. I thought by your statement: "I am failing at creating heaven for my children;" indicated that you thought that your home was supposed to be heaven, as the title of this blog indicates: "home is heaven for beginners." You further note that with broken homes it is no wonder we have a crisis of faith pointing to homes that are not "heaven for beginners." I understand that theology is confusing and difficult, but it is the science of God and I believe that all people are called to it pay grade or not. I enjoy your blogs and I believe that you do an exceptionally good job sharing the faith, but I know that there are errors in this and I was pointing them out to help. I hope that my comments are not offensive.

  5. You are two of my favorite bloggers and I appreciate what you are both trying to say here. As loving Catholic parents, we are always striving to better ourselves, but never feeling like we are doing enough. I for one, think you are both portraying a bit of Heaven in your homes, as you are raising your children with the best gift of all…knowledge of our Faith and love for Jesus. Curious question…do we know if the author is Anti-Catholic or just Non-Catholic?

  6. Catholic Femina–I understand that it may have sounded theologically unsound, but it was not intentional. I appreciate the conversation and feedback from everyone who leaves one on my blog. It helps me to understand my faith a bit better. The quote may have been from an anti-Catholic, but it got me thinking about how we need be better parents.

    Tricia–If you are asking about Parkurst, I honestly don't know enough about him to say whether or not he's anti-Catholic. I got the quote from a book about heaven written by a Catholic and is not an anti-Catholic.Her name and the name of the book is escaping me right now.

  7. I really think the blog is great if you change heaven with the Church and try to be a representation of the Trinity or the Holy Family rather than heaven. I am always really cautious of anything leading to reformed protestantism with Catholic Theology being so close it is easy to cross over without seeing.

  8. Tim, I REALLY enjoyed your thoughts in this blog. You are one excellent writer too. Your insight and honesty really speaks to me.

    When I signed on to leave my comment, I was surprised that it had generated any criticism.

    Catholic Femina, I understand your concern for clarity, but Tim's theology on this point seems extremely Catholic to me and biblically savvy. Let me address your last comment about trying "to be a representation of the Trinity or the Holy Family rather than heaven." Isn't heaven the experience of unity with the Trinity? To say that the Christian family is to be a representation of the Trinity, a making present of the Trinity's Love, is synonymous with comparing it to heaven. As we are told in John 17:3, "And Eternal Life [the life that begins in Baptism and continues beyond this world] is this, that they know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."

  9. I apologize – forgot to respond regarding the author Parkhurst. I too know really nothing about him. But quotation of an author, even if he is less than orthodox doesn't concern me. I think it can be a pretty good evangelization strategy. We see St.Paul doing this in his address to the philosophers of Athens in Acts 17. Paul qouted from the pagan poets Epimenides and Aratus to make a point of contact between the Gospel he was announcing and the rays of truth that had already penetrated pagan culture.


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