Monday, February 23, 2009

Review of the Domestic Church: First Chapter

This is a review from Sarah at "With a Hopeful Heart" blog

I've decided to post a book review of the above by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle in weekly segments as I read it. The book is done in a format that I think will work well for a weekly review.

In case you haven't heard of this book, hopefully my very amateur review will help you decide if it is one you'd like to add to your own library. It is available from Circle Press. This book can be used as a part of a study group or for individual use. Each chapter is broken up into 'rooms' for the reader to contemplate different topics and identify them as rooms in their domestic church. My hope is that each week I will read the chapter for that week and then be able to give you several points to ponder and excerpts as well in Monday's post. Hopefully. I think it will also serve as a wonderful way to walk the journey of lent as I focus on my domestic church in the process.

I am really enjoying this book so far and in the first chapter I have already repeatedly gone back to re-read what I've highlighted in order to refocus my meditations on the subject. As I said, this book is written in Study Guide type format for weekly meetings with other women and mothers. It comes complete with thought provoking discussion questions at the end of each chapter as well. It is much more than a study guide though, because it brings to light Catholic teaching through Scripture, papal encyclicals, apostolic letters, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the words of our great Saints. They are sprinkled throughout as a wonderful addition to the eloquent words of the author.

This Week's focus:

The Foyer: Our Blessed Mother Mary and Motherhood

How can I aspire to imitate such an amazing Mother as Blessed Mother Mary? That's a big question. Mary's "Yes" to the angel Gabriel was a courageous "Yes" to God. It was not a mediocre surrender to God's Will. It was a full, complete surrender to her becoming the Mother of Jesus. What is my answer when I am asked for that surrender in my vocation of wife and mother? I must admit, it is not always the full-hearted "Yes" that Mary gave. I should consider all of my responses to God as a mother, reflecting upon my willingness-or lack thereof-to accept everything that God has for me. This is not always easy as a mother, but I desire that complete "Yes" to my motherly vocation. Like Mary when she visited her dear cousin, Elizabeth, while with child herself, I desire to have Mary-like sensitive attentiveness to the care and needs of others. I love that phrase! Sensitive attentiveness. I will admit that sometimes I do not have sensitive attentiveness towards members of my family and that it does not always come easy. This will be a wonderful phrase to stick on my fridge for this week so that I may become more aware of improving it in my domestic church.

How can we as mothers and women follow Our Blessed Mother more faithfully and discover peace as we follow her "Yes" with sweet surrender? Here's a few things to ponder from the book that I picked out for this week:

A mother can learn from Mary by asking for God's grace to entrust herself completely to him with the "full submission of intellect and will".

For mothers, it means service first in her family and then reaching out to the world. At times, good intentions and a mother's loving heart may cause her to stretch herself too much to administer to the needs of others outside her home. It's wonderful and holy to want to help, yet mothers must remember that their love begins first and foremost at home. Being sure that her family is properly cared for before she embarks in other areas of ministry will ensure that she is not inadvertently neglecting her family in the process of helping others.

Silence can ironically be found in the busyness of a mother's day as a mother learns to retreat to her heart even as she is involved in the care of her family. Within the "silence" of a mother's heart, Our Lord can speak.

It is when she realizes that Our Lord actually wants to use her attentiveness to her family's needs that she will understand the value and prayerfulness in performing little things with great love. The mother becomes an everyday example to her family as she raises her children in holiness and goes about with a prayerful heart, striving to emulate the Blessed Mother's virtues.

Isn't that just beautifully said? I think these are all such important things to remember as mothers. I am striving to keep in mind that my small acts throughout the day and my little prayers and offerings in my mind and heart bring holiness and blessing to my home. How important are the needs of my family and the manner in which I attend to them! They are my simple offering that I give daily, along with my morning offering of all my works,joys and sufferings that I pray before the day begins pulling me in all directions. This week I have a lot to focus on and meditate upon as I enter the season of lent. I will need to write some of the quotes down in order to call them to mind frequently this week. I just wonder if I'll have enough room on my bathroom mirror and my fridge to hold them all??

Blessings this week as you focus on your domestic church's foyer!

Next Week: The Garage!!


Thank you very much, Sarah, for your beautiful review! Your blog is so lovely, by the way. Enjoy your journey in The Domestic Church: Room by Room!


Sarah said...

Thanks Donna-Marie for your comment on my blog and for re-posting my post here. I am completely honored! I am really enjoying the book and it is a wonderful answer to my prayer of improving my domestic church. I only hope I can continue to do it justice. You write so beautifully. I also have Grace Cafe and look forward to diving into that a bit more soon. Thanks again. May you continue to be blessed in your writing.

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

You are very welcome, Sarah! Thank you for your kind words. I'm very happy that the book is serving you. You are a fine writer!

God bless and hugs,