How to Practice Mental Purity in Your Marriage

LARABETH MILLER

 

One of the things I appreciate so much about marriage is the complementarity of men’s and women’s brains. Our mental habits, influences, and motivations are so beautifully designed to support and unite.

Marriage has deepened my understanding of the male brain, and I’ve come to realize my husband often views the world from a single-track, logical perspective. In turn, I have also learned to understand my own mental habits. Though there so many beautiful strengths in the female brain, I have come to recognize the dangers that can arise with how I perceive my husband.

Early in our marriage, I wanted to do everything in my power to ensure our relationship grew. I wanted to understand him and give my husband everything (I thought) he needed as a man. But this became difficult when it came to discovering all the things about my new husband that I didn’t care for.

Before long, frustration crept in as we spent the next year learning more about each other. At times I wondered what was wrong with his brain as he shared some solutions, desires, and perspectives that were, frankly, foreign to me. Because I was a terrible communicator, I attempted to analyze him instead of talking to him. I came to my own conclusions fueled by strong emotions. Then something happened that I thought never would: I came, at times, to despise my new husband.

Whenever he did something his way, I thought he was being ignorant. If he was honest with me during one of our arguments, I immediately labeled him uncaring and selfish. If he didn’t make efforts to make me comfortable or happy, I would tell myself he didn’t really love me. I always made every attempt to determine what he needed from me, so why didn’t I get the same treatment? I went deeper down this rabbit hole, until gradually we weren’t on the same side anymore.

You see, this is an easy entrance for Satan to attack your marriage. We, as companions to our spouses, are gifted with the ability to consider our surroundings and relationships and come up with ways to make it better. Even if that is influenced by our need for control. But our husbands are not the same as we are.

My husband is driven by his desire to provide for me, even if that means using the most efficient and logical solution. He provided honesty in order to get to the point and come to a clear understanding. And he had no idea how to make me happy or comfortable because I had never told him! He thought he had taken care of me already by paying the rent every month and helping me with the grocery budget. But I was too deep into my own concocted contempt for him to see that he was trying to learn to love me the best he could.

So as Scripture says,

“With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life.”

Proverbs 4:23

The best way to ensure a sense of mental purity is to seek encouraging outside sources that draw you outside yourself. Whenever we bump heads or are both are going through a stressful times, I look for solid reminders of our path in marriage. I read books on marriage, I listen to good podcasts, or I journal how I’m feeling and look at it with a prayerful perspective. I reserve time, without distractions or stress, to have a conversation with my husband, making sure I put aside my assumptions and opinions. Above all, I take it to Jesus in prayer.

Consider, as well, that many women find it radically helpful to be able to speak about their struggles with a friend or family member, but there is a major trap that lies in this. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen one man torn apart by a large group of women who joined and supported the wife in her emotional misunderstanding. I’ve seen marriages torn apart  by a mob of supposed friends who convinced a woman her husband was a monster.

When considering a confidant, it’s important to choose someone who supports you and your husband as a couple. They should wish to see your marriage flourish the way God intended it to. This adviser should be able to take an objective, prayerful approach by considering the influences, strengths and weaknesses of each person. In my own life, I have carefully chosen a mentor who has been married much longer than I have. Each time we speak, I can recognize her deep love for Christ and her husband. I’ve come to trust her deeply because her advice leads me to regard my husband with holy empathy and self-sacrifice.

We are called to look upon our spouses with the same eyes God does; to recognize his goodness and talents. To forgive when mistakes have been made and allow for the situation to sanctify you both. You know well the reasons you chose your beloved. Remind him of your admiration as often as you can. Consider a devotion to the Divine Mercy or Mary, undoer of Knots, and trust the graces of the sacrament of marriage will support these challenging seasons of growth.   


CIRCLE HEADSHOT Larabeth.png

About the Author: Larabeth Miller is Spoken Bride’s Associate Editor. She is the owner of Graced by Color. Read more

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Inviting God into your Wedding Planning Desires

STEPHANIE FRIES

 

God created us, and he creates our desires to point us towards goodness, beauty, creation, and virtue. When we are attentive to our desires--both the lighthearted and the deepest desires of our hearts--Christ can teach us something about ourselves or about himself. (Or really about anything, because he is God.)

Does your season of engagement feel overwhelming and distracting due to stress or expectations of wedding planning? With a prayerful approach, the desires and details in our wedding planning can become a sacramental aspect within the sacrament of matrimony. When we seek God in our desires, the smallest wedding details can give visibility to a truth of our faith, to our relationship with Christ, or to the deeper desires of our hearts.

The sacramental aspect of our Catholic faith describes the ways physical objects make an invisible truth visible. For example, water is the physical object signifying the spiritual cleansing, or rebirth in Christ, through the sacrament of Baptism. In marriage, the first night together as husband and wife, and every act of love thereafter, makes tangible the unifying vows of the sacrament of Matrimony.

So how do we uncover the deeper meaning of our desires in wedding planning? How do we tune in to the songs our hearts are singing?

First, we have to know what we want. In the gospel of John, the first question Jesus asks is, “What do you want?” It’s not a selfish question to ask ourselves, especially when we are striving to know ourselves and know Christ in a pursuit of holiness.

Despite how clear your vision for your wedding day might be, consider pausing to journey into that vision with God. Invite God into your head and your heart and ask yourself, “What do I want to see at my wedding?” Note the first things that come to mind. Is it a specific flower, color scheme, or song? Is it a desired anticipation for how a moment will play out?

Perhaps a surprising  answer will pop into your mind! In those moments, you can certainly say “hello” to the Holy Spirit who is guiding your heart.

Perhaps answering the question “what do I want?” is challenging. Is there a tinge of fear, anxiety, or apprehension that bubbles to the surface of your heart when you try to dive in that deeply? If so, keep going, trust the Lord, keep Him close; He wants to show you something good! Rather than fearing the fear itself and suppressing those feelings, take Mary or Jesus’ hand and prayerfully walk into those desires.

Second, take to Christ whatever comes to mind and let him begin to unfold the mystery of your heart. A prayer as simple as, “Okay, Jesus. I want ____ at my wedding. I imagine ____ at my wedding. What is it about ____ am I attracted to? I ask you to reveal something deeply beautiful about these desires to me.”

God might reveal these answers to you in that exact moment of prayer, or maybe over a series of days. Maybe he will withhold his response until the wedding day, or even weeks after when you’re turning back through pictures. Regardless of how he answers this prayer in his timing, he hears you. He is with you in your desires. The things we are attracted to are ways God romances us towards his goodness, his beauty, his creation, and his love.

We want more than we think we want.

Even after the wedding day has come and gone, this conversation with Christ is one we can continue in any season of life.

In my most recent personal experience, praying through my desires was an effort to clarify if my desire was from God or from my own selfishness. When my husband and I moved overseas, it took over two months for our belongings to arrive from the United States to our new (and first) home. The time of waiting tested my patience and led to my restless wanting of our stuff. In the past, I’ve done well with traveling out of a backpack and maintaining a relatively simple profile, so this deep feeling of need for my things was surprising to me.

On the one hand, it takes a personal touch to create a home. We were living on rental furniture and bare walls; I desired our personalized bookshelves and coffee mugs and photographs. I desired to create a home with my husband.

But on the other hand, I was tempted to shame in those desires because I was being “too materialistic” and “too selfish” and “too needy.” The latter experience led me to my knees in a prayer to see God in those desires.

He shattered the glass of my temptation to self-shame. In his most gentle and straight-forward way, God first allowed me to speak my fears: “I feel like I am a bad Christian if I want my stuff.” Nearly instantly thereafter, he provided a sanctifying clarity: it’s not the stuff for the sake of having stuff I desire, but the love, joy, memory, journey, hope, and faith that those things represent. A home is a place of hospitality, rest, unity, and love; beyond the desire for “stuff” is a beautiful desire for a home.

And beyond the desire for a home is a desire for our eternal home, heaven. The ache for what I want now opened my perspective to what I want forever.  

My patience was restored and the process of building our first home has filled my heart with gratitude and hope for all the goodness to come--both in this life and in heaven.

Oftentimes, the details we want to see on our wedding day are a manifestation of our heart’s yearning for beauty and virtue and love. Through the gift of free will, God will patiently wait to show us those deeper layers of our hearts until we ask him to show us. When we invite him into our wedding planning--the season of preparation toward the vocation to a sacrament of marriage--he will undoubtedly show up and love on us as he does so well.

He has already shown up by inviting you into this sacrament--one of the beautiful ways he reveals his love for his people! Why would he stop there? Our God is a God of infinity.

What does he want to show you? What does he have to teach you? What beauty can be revealed as we journey through wedding planning and decision making processes with Christ by our side?

May the journey continue for you with infinite beauty and surprise.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Fries is Spoken Bride’s Editor at Large. Stephanie’s perfect day would consist of a slow morning and quality time with her husband, Geoff, a strong cup of coffee, and a homemade meal (…with dessert). Read more

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Newlywed Life | How to Plan a Honeymoon Staycation

Are you and your beloved unable to go on a honeymoon immediately after your wedding?

Whether due to work, financial, or other limitations, if a getaway isn’t in the cards for you right away, the first days of your marriage can still be an elevated experience and sacred time. Consider planning a honeymoon staycation over a three-day weekend or, if possible, a longer period off from work. Here, our suggestions for making your staycation distinctive from the everyday.

Allow yourselves leisure.

When you’re staying at home, particularly right after your marriage, there are temptations everywhere to do: open gifts, organize belongings, clean, write thank you notes. Don’t forget, however, to be: this is a vacation, after all! Consider designating a time of day to end working on projects and chores, spending the remainder in a state of carefree timelessness.

Make specific plans.

A staycation is ideal for exploring areas of your city you might not otherwise prioritize: plan a day trip, make brunch and dinner reservations at new and special spot, visit the natural or cultural sites you love or have dreamed of seeing. Creating an informal itinerary cultivates the getaway feel and brings structure to your time.

Consider a local overnight.

If your budget allows, spending a night--or two--in a nearby hotel or Airbnb feels distinctively special and set apart from your everyday.

Dream together.

If your “actual” honeymoon is months away, enjoy the anticipation! Page through travel books for your destination, dive into Yelp, and begin planning your forthcoming trip.

Add a spiritual component.

Take advantage of time off from work with daily Mass, Adoration, and a self-planned retreat or pilgrimage. Find more here on planning a spiritually significant honeymoon.

We love hearing the stories, insights, and surprises of your newlywed lives. If you and your beloved had an abbreviated or local honeymoon, or are planning to, share your own tips and experiences in the comments and on our social media. See the Spoken Bride team’s handpicked honeymoon essentials here.

Just Engaged? Tips + Considerations for Setting a Wedding Date

It’s a predictable pattern: once friends and family receive the news of your engagement, their responses, in quick succession, are typically How did he propose? followed by, So when’s the wedding?

Photography:    Shea Castricone

Photography: Shea Castricone

It’s hard to fault your loved ones for their interest and excitement on your behalf. Yet it’s alright to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing a wedding date, let alone planning for it. If you’re newly engaged and wondering where to begin, start by arranging a meeting with the priest at the parish or chapel where you plan to enter into marriage.

At your first meeting, your priest will discuss practical matters like if and when you and your fiancé have received the sacraments, give an overview of the marriage prep process, and will likely send you home with an interview or inventory like FOCCUS to illuminate areas of your relationship that could benefit from deeper examination.

Sometimes when setting the date, the process is as simple as choosing from a list of available days and times. It can be overwhelming, however, to see endless calendar blocks open to you. Here, to aid in your discernment and decision-making, considerations for choosing your date.

The liturgical year

If a particular saint or feast has been significant in your relationship, consider bringing that significance into your wedding date, by way of a saint’s feast day or a solemnity. Spoken Bride’s Business Director, Andi Compton, was married on September 8, the birth of Our Lady, and Creative Director Jiza Zito was married August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption.

Bear in mind that most dioceses do not permit celebratory sacraments, like matrimony and baptism, during Lent. On the other hand, weddings held during the Christmas and Easter seasons convey a beautiful image of new, fruitful, glorious life.

Your personal responsibilities

While, like many major transitions in life, there’s never an ideal, conflict-free time to dive in--and the joy of entering into marriage drowns out those small matters--it is worth considering if any major obligations on the horizon could add stress to your wedding plans. Busy seasons at work in the finance, education, and retail fields, for instance,can be difficult to leave at the office, and if one or both of you is serving on mission, wherein you’re expected to prioritize your work and apostolate, setting your wedding date for a relatively calm time of year can minimize burnout.

Family obligations

If anyone in your immediate family or prospective wedding party will be traveling abroad, on a military deployment, giving birth, or undergoing major surgery or medical procedures in the upcoming months, understand the strain these circumstances might place on their ability to attend your wedding. Of course, it’s impossible to set a date where no guests have prior obligations, but for those closest to you, it’s a gesture of consideration, and a gift to you as a couple, to set a date they’ll be able to attend.

Circumstances and needs at this time in your lives

A short engagement can work well if neither you nor your fiancé will be relocating to a new city or state after your wedding, if one of you is already living in the home you’ll eventually share, or if you’re both well into your post-college lives and careers. A slightly longer time of preparation might be practical if you’re still in school, will need to make arrangements for your living situation, or have concerns that could benefit from pre-marital counseling.

All that said, every divinely ordained relationship, and every unrepeatable person within it, has unique needs, strengths, and challenges. It’s alright to move forward in faith even without all the answers, to get married while going to therapy, or to celebrate your marriage in the midst of professional or family-related whirlwinds. When we step out into the deep, Peter-like, Christ is present and won’t leave us to flounder.

More on discerning the length of your engagement and choosing a wedding date:

Christina Dehan Jaloway’s reflections on a short engagement and on being an “older” Catholic bride | Elise Crawford Gallagher’s tips for thriving during a long engagement | Holiday weddings

How did you and your beloved go about setting your wedding date? Share your thought process with other brides in the comments and on our social media.

Readers Share | The Saints Who've Shaped Your Relationships

This week as the Church celebrates the dead, the communion of saints, and all souls in Purgatory on All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, respectively, we invited you to share the holy men and women who’ve interceded in your spiritual lives and relationships on our social media.

For inviting us and others into your deep joy, for fostering hope in God’s faithfulness in women still awaiting their love story, for witnessing to abandon and reckless trust in the Father, thank you. Your responses were too many to list in a single post--let alone to list every woman who cited Our Lady, Saints Therese, John Paul II, or Louis and Zelie Martin as favorite patrons! We read every single one and find each so uniquely, personally beautiful.

Here, a selection of your stories of saintly intercession:

St Gemma - for many reasons! My husband is a pharmacist, I was seeking employment when we were first married and we both recently lost our fathers. She’s the patron saint of: Pharmacists, children who have lost parents and those seeking employment! - Danielle

Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and his wife, Servant of God, Empress Zita. They were a beautiful Catholic married couple and have been a great role model for our marriage. - @danielleduet

St. Michael the Archangel. His battle courage was inspiring to me, and helped me in my own spiritual warfare. Like St. Michael, I was able to cast my own demons out. - @_desirita_

St. Therese and St. Zelie Martin. I’ve struggled with finding and being content in my vocation, and through their intercession have received many graces. - @thebrownebunch

St. Raphael. I met my soon-to-be fiancé through Catholic Match and Raphael's intercession throughout our relationship has been so influential. He's the patron saint of their website and the hero of our relationship. - @violetsheabee

St. Therese has had (and continues to have) a profound impact on how myself in relationship with my fiancé. Long distance has required a lot of humility and trust on both of our parts, and I've leaned on her Little Way to help me do small things that benefit our relationship with each other and with God. - @meganboes

St. Joseph! The St. Joseph novena played a big role in both our individual discernment journeys. As a couple, any time we have a difficult situation and don't know what to pray for, we say his novena, and always receive exactly what we need, and then some! Plus, all the men in my family have Joseph as their middle name, and so does my husband! - @acrgripshover

Our Lady of Angels. - @i.marie.daly

St. Anthony. - @vegan_wannabe_81

I got engaged on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, by the grace of God and through the intercession of St. Joseph, Mama Mary, and St. Anne. - @meganaosborn

St. Thomas More, Mother Mary and St. Joseph. - @marie_xavier_felix

St. Maria Goretti. - @paigealexandrahussey

St. Therese, St. Faustina, and the Holy Family! -@becca_from_texas

St. Josemaria Escriva. - @akeeshers

St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Cecilia! My senior year of college, while my husband and I were still dating, I felt a call to a religious vocation. I was so confused about it so I prayed countless novenas to Therese--I didn’t hear an immediate response, but I eventually did. That spring break, some girlfriends and I drove to Nashville for a retreat with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (Cecilia is one of my faves because I’m a musician). While I loved it there, I felt a peace within my heart that I was called to marriage. Two years later, my husband proposed. - @josieweisenberger

St. Gianna Molla and her husband, Pietro! We named our first born after her! - @thetinymangia

Our Lady and St. Louis de Montfort. - @maddy__anne__

St. Joseph! My parents did a novena to St Joseph to pray for a husband for me and weeks into the novena, [my future spouse] came along! And we got engaged on May 1, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker. - @rachelgmz

St. Therese of Lisieux! Ever since I was a young girl, I have been praying novenas to her in the hopes of finding my future husband. She is my patron saint, and my fiancé's favorite. We asked her special intercession for our relationship on a recent trip to the National Shrine in DC, and he proposed on her feast day this year, along with a beautiful white rose! - @whateverisgracious

Our guardian angels! - @ann.elissa

St. Ignatius of Loyola. My husband and I would pray his Prayer for Generosity while we were dating and it was a constant reminder to serve the other person. - @jessie.dupre

St. Elia. - @soulachreim

St. Monica, St. Anne, and St.  Michael...mother Mary above all. - @scenescerity.images

St. Jude. I began his novena and on the last day saw [my future husband] Wesley, and knew I should see where things went with him. After that we have prayed to him every night and I began seeing St. Jude everywhere. Now, Wesley and I are getting married [this fall] (2 years after I began my novena)! - @rach_whalen

Our Lady Undoer of Knots, Saint Joseph, Saint Anne, Saint Anthony, Saint Michael, Saint Jude Thaddeus, Saint Raphael, and Saint Dymphna. I keep adding them! - @edna_songz

Saint Veronica. She has inspired me to wipe my husband’s face as he carries his crosses. She reminded me what we are called to do as brothers and sisters in Christ and had a profound role in shaping our relationship. - @brittbritt_ottens

Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, St. Therese’s parents. The man who is courting me and I had to go two months without seeing each other when we began our relationship. He sent me a talk about sanctification in marriage, which focused on their lives; since then, we have continuously asked for their intercession as we discern marriage! They have become a major influence for me and we are thankful to have another beautiful couple to look up to! - @alynacampero

Saint Therese of Lisieux; she is always reminding us to give ourselves fully to each other and to never seek anything in return. She teaches us how (in Story of a Soul) to live life in a way that strives for selfless love and complete humility. And her parents guide us in how we will want to raise our kids someday. - @maddie7548

To each of you who responded to or have been moved by this question and its answers, we are grateful. If you have suggestions for future reader-sourced topics, be sure to share them with us for consideration!

Images by Lionhearted Photography, seen in Amy + Jake | Midwinter Mountain Wedding

Balancing Materialism and Majesty in Your Wedding Plans

SINIKKA ROHRER

 

If there’s one thing I remember from my engagement, it’s the difficulty of balancing the majesty and materialism a wedding involves.

Quite a few friends and family offered well-meaning advice about what a wedding day should look like. After every conversation, I'd look at my fiancée with fear-filled eyes:

“Do we really need to have a cocktail hour?”

“Is anyone going to care if we have favors?”

“Will anyone notice if we have faux flowers?”

The amount of material concerns pressed upon us was overwhelming. In the midst of these decisions, I remember wishing I had a way out from it all. I want to help give that to you.

Here is permission: you do not need to have a cocktail hour. No one will care if you have favors or not, and even if someone notices that you have faux flowers, it doesn’t diminish the beauty of your day.

Your wedding day is about more than pretty dresses, perfect centerpieces, and prime cuts of meat. It’s about uniting with your beloved, under the mantle of Christ.

Here are a few ways to feel balanced as you navigate material and spiritual concerns:

Set a budget and prioritize.

Your mother, sister, or aunt may be telling you you should get the dress you love, book the venue you’ve always wanted, and have the open bar everyone would love. The perfect dress, venue, and cocktails are all great things to include in your plans, but keep in mind what the bill will look like at the end of the day.

To help financial conversations go smoothly, make sure you (and whomever is helping foot the bill) set--  and stick to--a specific wedding budget. Identify what you’re willing to splurge on and list each of your top vendor priorities with your groom. In our case, for instance, I cared most about the photographer, and my husband about the DJ.

For all other details and costs, we made sure they fit our budget. That means our centerpieces, favors, and appetizers were not the fanciest, yet still offerings we could be proud of. It felt good knowing the bill was not crippling to ourselves or our parents after the day was done.

Respectfully say no.

Many times during my wedding photography career, I have run into the situation where an opinionated family member has a specific plan for how a wedding day will run and what it will look like.

If you have someone explicitly stating your day will not be good if it doesn’t have large floral centerpieces, an open bar, or any other item, this piece of advice is for you:

You are allowed to say no.

It might feel uncomfortable, but it’s healthy to respectfully decline ideas and put your foot down in order to help your day stay focused on what matters most.  

Despite the chorus of outside voices, remember this day is not about others, but about you and your groom--and ultimately, about Christ shining through the whole day.

Remind us all: it's the sacrament that matters.

Your attitude and choices can communicate to friends and family what’s most important to you: the sacrament of marriage itself. This is the reason why the details honestly don’t matter and the timeline is just a sheet of paper. Your sacrament will be beautiful and unifying. You can set an example of moderation, embodying the balance between your own experience and others' expectations.

You are Christ’s advocate for your wedding day.

You are your advocate for your wedding day.

There is no one else who will stand up to say enough is enough when orchids are overpriced and decisions start to overwhelm you.

You have the agency to stand up, step back from decision-making, and recall what’s most important.

The materials of this world are insignificant in comparison to the heavenly majesty of your wedding. I challenge you remember this daily, balancing any necessary cares of this world with the cares of the next.


About the Author: Sinikka Rohrer is a Christian wedding photographer and Spoken Bride vendor on mission to encourage brides with practical and spiritual encouragement on the way to the aisle. She is a lover of all things healthy, early morning spiritual reads, and anything outdoors.

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Editors' Picks | Vol. 14: Catholic Home Décor

At Spoken Bride, we love a good book, a good meal, a standout statement necklace, a heel you can dance in, and the list goes on. And when we make those discoveries, we want to tell everyone. So every month or two, we're sharing our latest and favorite finds in everything engagement, wedding, and honeymoon-related.

Did you know the Spoken Bride Vendor Guide has a Gifts & Home Décor section? In addition to the artists and creators whom we’re proud to partner with, today we’re also sharing additional items that inspire beauty and prayer in your home (non-sponsored).

Framed artwork: Spoken Bride Vendor Michelle Arnold Paine

Framed artwork: Spoken Bride Vendor Michelle Arnold Paine

Stephanie, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief

Vatican Gift Icons: Iconography has been my favorite type of religious art for a long time; I love the immersive nature of the images for both artist and viewer and their many deep, beautiful layers of prayer and symbolism. Icons purchased through the Vatican’s online gift shop can be blessed by the Holy Father at your request--if you and your beloved aren’t honeymooning in Rome, items like these are a wonderful option for acknowledging your unique call as spouses within the universal Church.

Consecrate This House print: To celebrate your first home as husband and wife is to accept the invitation to make the home a domestic church and school of love. This elegant print from a Catholic-owned shop (one of our brides!) inspired by Scripture is a reminder “of God's presence within our homes and that He will never abandon us.”  It would take on a wonderful significance in your entryway, dining space, or another area of your home where your friends and family gather.

Wrought Iron Advent Candle Holder: I’m drawn to simple design for my home and love the clean styling of this candle holder, which could be dressed up with scattered greenery during the Advent season and would fit well with minimalist, rustic, or modern decor.

 

Jiza, Co-Founder & Creative Director

Monastery Icons: This company offers a wide variety of sacred art, including sculpture, jewelry, and, of course, icons. All icons are written by a religious brother in the U.S.

Lily Porter Niederpruem Art: It’s beautiful when the concept of “Catholic” art extends beyond the literal. For the abstract art lover, Lily Niederpruem describes her colorful, Impressionist-style oil paintings as an invitation to contemplate the spirituality of God at work in the natural world, “because nature shares an intimate relationship with the sacred.” Graphite drawings and watercolors are also available. I have a print of her Luminous Mysteries painting, and I love it!

 

Andi, Business Director

Sick Call Crucifix: Our dear friends gave us a crucifix similar to this as a wedding gift, along with holy water, beeswax candles, and instructions on how and when to call a priest for the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Although I generally don’t want to even think about needing to use this kit, I do like acknowledging this sacrament in our home and having necessary items ready. It’s like having an emergency kit for our souls!

Outdoor Statues: When my husband and I first bought our home ten years ago, I stumbled upon an Our Lady of Grace statue at a local outdoor shop and immediately brought her home. She’s lived in various places in our backyard ever since, usually with white roses nearby.

Sacred Heart Enthronement: The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a ceremony led by the Legion of Mary, wherein a family makes a formal entrustment of their lives to Christ. My family participated several years ago, and it was beautiful. We love having the image of Jesus’s Sacred Heart right on our mantel, under Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jesus is right there in the heart of our home, watching over us as we play, read, watch movies.

We love the sensory nature of the Catholic faith and the ways it invites us to contemplate the love of God in tangible ways—including those that can be experienced daily in our homes. Be sure to share the items that draw you into contemplation and beauty in the comments and on our social media.