Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Contemplative House. A Benedictine oblate blog

by cohdra

[Click picture to enlarge]

Lectio divina, praying the divine office, the treasured spiritual retreats at a monastery, and time spent at rest in the harbor of silence, are all helped by several home improvements.

Big Ben Chimes. Every fifteen minutes we hear beautiful chimes just like those at the St. Leo Abbey where we visit. Our chimes are played on an inexpensive second-hand computer we bought from a man who repairs and then resells old computers. The computer is connected to a pair of deep bass speakers and another set of wireless speakers located in another part of the house. Every fifteen minutes we are reminded to pray. We use this chimes program. The sound from this program is of very high quality.

Wind Chimes. We like to be reminded of the Holy Spirit and the wind chimes give that reminder in beautiful sounds. Both the Big Ben Chimes and the wind chimes outside our home illustrate that although we often speak of making our home quieter, that is somewhat misleading. What we actually want to do is replace noise from the world with sounds that call us to God's peace and turn our hearts to his path. We have the grandfather chimes from Jacob chimes.

Phone flasher. Silencing the phone is a way to avoid noisy disruptions. We bought the KMFT-793 Krown Strobe Visual Flasher that allows us to see a very subtle flashing light anytime we have a phone call. Although the small flasher is called a strobe, if you are imagining the strobe lights you have seen on emergency vehicles or remember from your college days (oh, boy) — you have the wrong image of the Krown Flasher — the light is subdued and lacks anything that could be called intense.

Prayer chair. Some fortunate oblates have rooms in their homes set aside for prayer. We have not been able to do that, but I have a chair that is used for praying the divine office and lectio divina.

Candles for prayer. I like to light a candle when praying the divine office. We will light a sanctuary-style candle in the weeks before we go on retreats at the abbey.

Incense. I have not used incense yet, but after writing this blog, thought it would be another practice I should try. You can get incense online from the incense shop of Hermits of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel who are in Texas, USA.

Shades open. We like to have as much natural light in our home as possible and are surprised by the number of people whose homes have the shades or blinds shut so the home is always dark. I think people were meant to live in the light.

Home Shrine. We do not have one, but here are some links to pictures of home "altars" or places of prayer. I liked each of these examples of drawing close to God. The links are to a thread about home shrines on the Catholic Answers forum. It is a long thread and I selected some of the most recent pictures. The short descriptions are my own -- my impression of the pictures.
Simple, Benedictine

Icon beauty in gold

Celtic ocean calm

Window cross

Mother and child

Angels protecting

Prayer reading corner
Book stand. My wife reads without one, but I like to use a small wooden book stand when I am sitting in the prayer chair. I use the books The Monastic Diurnal and Benedictine Daily Prayer, both require a lot of flipping back and forth. The book stand helps.

Gardens. This takes the most time and is constantly on our list of projects, but no matter how large or small, some form of garden is part of the monastic pattern.

How does your home help you on the journey to dwell with God?



The garden picture at the top of this blog is 000_0008_0001ENHsml.jpg by cohdra and is used subject to license.

I have linked to several of the products we use -- there are places where similar or superior products might be bought and I receive no compensation for the links placed in this blog or any purchases you make. I am not associated with any of the companies listed. You must decide if any of the products would help your home, but I do think it is a sign that the first review on Amazon for the Krown Strobe Visual Flasher said the unit was purchased for a church! :)

1 comment:

  1. Ineed to have 5 ST benedicti medals blessed by a St benedicti priest.Where can I send it?