Faith Like a Bottle of Mustard

My family will be celebrating our third anniversary with the upcoming Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and we will be renewing the enthronement of the Sacred Heart in our home. Now, I am not one of those good and faithful Catholics who devours devotions like Fig Newtons. My family’s prayer life tends to be very simple—the consequence, perhaps of being a homeschooling family of six children. Our daily religious practices are: Acts (Faith, Hope, Love, Contrition), Angelus, Rosary, rinse and repeat. But, in addition to our special devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our wearing of the Brown Scapular, and being slaves to Jesus through Mary (St. Louis DeMontfort, True Devotion), Christ is quite literally King in our home. He reigns and presides over our quaint open-floor plan realm like the sovereign Lord that He is, golden scepter in hand—right next to the thermostat. 

The Catholic faith of a family is nitty and gritty. It is hardworking and sweaty like a bake-day mom in late July or a greasy and knuckle-wracked dad under the hood of a 67’ red Corvette. Faith is supposed to get down into the hard-to-reach of your life like the crevices of a highchair. Let your faith be a PB&J and stick there until the Crack of Doom. If your Faith is as pristine as a porcelain doll on a shelf, chances are it is just as fragile. Let your faith work along side you, at the kitchen sink, in the garage, or at the table doing your umpteenth math fact. If you confine your faith, like a precious jewel (or, maybe a light under a bushel) in your pocket, it will never gleam out, shine out the reality of your hope, that this transitory existence full of tears is only so while it lasts. Soon a new dawn will break upon the universe and God will reign in all His glory and be hailed by every creature in a New Heavens and a New Earth. The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a foretaste of this blessed event, where all creation is brought under His rule in a manifest way.  

The first enthronement ceremony we did, following Fr. Mateo’s instructional booklet, we drew up a document (to be registered with the Angels in Heaven because, alas, the official congregation and registry having as of late apostatized) on which my family signed, or made their mark as in the case of the little tots who hadn’t received their writing lessons yet. The ceremony specifies that all members of the family ought to be included, and of those who could not be present, an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, should be said on their behalf. I distinctly remember praying these for my own father who had passed away a heathen when I was sixteen, and for my mother who was lost in another episode of manic depression, yet still attending the Novus Ordo Missae when she could. We also prayed for my in-laws, who were not manic depressive but still attended the Novus Ordo Missae anyway, only they did so every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. They were, and are, faithful to the false Church in Rome. 

At the time of the first enthronement, we were estranged from my wife’s parents. We acted quite literally when the Holy Scriptures spoke of avoiding the heretic and not wishing them Godspeed. We didn’t allow them in our home, and we didn’t visit them. Looking back on that decision, I confess I am at a loss to say if it was right or wrong. Perhaps you could help me judge that aright, but why I bring it up is that the second anniversary of the enthronement of the Sacred Heart, while praying the last prayers of the ceremony, just as we were about to sign the Angelic document a second time, who do you think knocks on our door? That’s right, my in-laws. 

They were welcomed into our home, of course. I wasn’t going to argue with Providence or my King. If He wanted them at my home (His home, that is) during that second anniversary, I wasn’t going to protest. On the contrary, my heart was bursting inside my chest because I knew God Almighty brought them there at that time and place, because He wanted them to sign that Angelic document, because He wanted to be enthroned in their hearts and home as well. They signed it. And, though we had our difficulties explaining some points of dogma, namely that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation, we had a very pleasant visit with them, playing cards and eating too much crackers and cheese.

Since then we have had a couple cordial visits but they are still attending the new mass at the Freemason Cult of Man church in their hometown. They have yet to transition even to the Tridentine, as so many who have come before tend to do. But I remember my King, and how, when He willed that they should be where He wanted them to, they were. That is the nitty-gritty Faith I speak of. It sometimes feels like a punch in the stomach, a betrayal and let down, when you see someone so close to Christ yet so far. But, then again, Christ was betrayed even by a kiss. The divine drama is played out in our families. We are not saved at the grocery store, or the bank, or the office, but at home. The people we love, our family, even when they are heathens, are the ones first we should consider when evangelizing and hoping to convert. I entrust my father’s soul to my Heavenly Mother. As for my earthly mother, she is doing very well emotionally, stabilized now by proper medication and a less stressful environment. I have been talking with her about reading the Baltimore Catechism, and she sounds enthusiastic to learn. As for my mother- and father-in-law, my heart is full of hope for their conversion. Perhaps my King will work another miracle in their life, and bring them home for more crackers and cheese and true doctrine. Perhaps this time they will find Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus as tasty and digestible as the extra sharp cheddar.  

13 thoughts on “Faith Like a Bottle of Mustard

  1. Very well said. Very wholesome and faithful. A good example of Catholic family “order” and not disorder. Many of us fell victim to worldliness. As I did when raising my family without asking for help and guidance from our Lord and King. You gave me much to contemplate and pray on in your personal story posted here. Thank you , ” Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us” ( Raccolta )

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    • Notwithstanding the fact that Christ is King in our home, it can be pretty anarchical around here—especially at bedtime! Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on us!

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  2. Beautiful Catholic Family practice..!! I think U might have been a little self-centered when u denied association with ur N.O. family members..the way I try to help making judgements for situations like that..I think–imagine this person(or persons) are dead..looking back how do I feel now about how I dealt with them..How do I want my actions to be sealed in eternity..
    that takes the here-and-now out of my decision making..hope that makes sense and is helpful..
    regards– jack in arkansas

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    • I have often reflected on our decision, which we have since softened to say the least. I figure that my in-laws being around us, witnessing to them is perhaps doing God’s will more than keeping them out of our lives. Still, I don’t think we were being”self-centered” because we were doing what we thought we were supposed to do according to the Word of God. We weren’t thinking about ourselves, but about their eternal destiny. It is a tough decision, and I do appreciate your comment. It gives me something to ponder. Like I said, they have visited since, and they know they are now welcome at our home.

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  3. Beautiful. Dream house for family and children. For true happiness can only come by faith and all related to it. Although I was not educated in the true Catholic spirit, I grew up in a 4-room flat on the ninth floor, where there were always good view to panorama, clouds and skies, sunsets and thunderstorms, next to a wood and much green area. Now for me, the main view of flat is to the east, where the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception tower is seen further directly in front. Probably until the end of the world (Providence?). Although I had a desire to leave civilization completely, at least in the countryside. Could you also tell me where to find the booklet of Fr. Mateo’s for that instructions? I also had an idea for a small altar on the windowsill of the same king of Christ-Sacred Heart picture to order-print

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    • Here is a good e-copy of a contemporary addition with the same prayers and directions. Just ignore the introductory words of the heretic Raymond Burke—stage name Cardinal Burke—at the beginning. We purchased our booklet from the CMRI website bookstore—which I am not entirely wanting to endorse, but it sure beats Amazon.

      Click to access Home%20Entrhonement%20Booklet%20with%20Introduction-1.pdf

      Thank you for your comments and sharing the images of your childhood, and where you live now. Home is where we meet God and dwell with Him—no matter how quaint or magnificent our homes might be, He is at home with us. God bless you!

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      • I sometimes use exorcism prayer for water in a private way. God willing, I would like to perform the ceremony on July 1, during the octave. In my Latvian book of 1939 on liturgy it is written that Pius XI ordered this holiday to be celebrated for 8 days. This year it coincides with Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

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      • I didn’t know that! I am not sure about the use of exorcism prayers by laymen, so I tend not to use anything that even looks like an exorcism. I do not have the power to command spirits. So I ask the High Priest to bless the water we used in the ceremony.

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  4. You mean you didn’t know about celebrating feast of Sacred Heart for 8 days? Yes, this is interesting general information that I have from small liturgical book. Because in other sources/calendars I didn’t know about that. Anyways I always say in my prayers act of consecration to the Sacred Heart composed by bl. Margaret Mary Alacoque. I sometimes use traditional form of exorcism for water. I don’t know if I can do it but my intention is always that I do it privately that God himself bless ( similarly you said) or Church supply. And I understand that the effect may not be the same but it may also be an analogy of Spiritual Communion.

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    • I didn’t know that the the Sacred Heart had an octave. I do not read the missal as often as I should, which would have told me this. I thought it was really nice, because the feast of the Immaculate Heart occurs within the octave of the Sacred Heart. Interesting to note: we have a calendar with the feast days on it from (hold your breath!) CMRI. It specified that this past Saturday was the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, but it failed to mention that it was also the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! I mean, how silly is it for a supposed Marian congregation to omit a Marian feast on its calendar?

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