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My reading of "sacred dwelling" by  Br. Romel A. Bautista, aa

My reading of "sacred dwelling" by Br. Romel A. Bautista, aa

It’s a FAMILY COMPASS. Reading Wendy Wright’s “Sacred Dwelling” reminds me so much of today’s palpable realities that exist in several families today, namely, loss of identity and loss of direction. The author clearly affirms the need to re-iterate the very importance of spirituality to every family, to be able to reconcile and relinquish our fundamental truths and of what essentially matters in our lives.

Hence, one must agree to the fact that, in many families, there is an evident disparity between the practical aspects of family life and the call for a healthy spiritual life. Thus, the book suggests the fact that, as many other holy men and women have proven it, holiness can be actually lived, developed and discovered in the most ordinary moments of our lives, such as parenthood, household chores, daily routines, and more. Therefore, this book will aid our questions as to how families can be authentic cradles of God and His love, expressed in our daily activities, and finally transition them from “every Sunday” to holistic and authentic Christians.

Surely, it must have been taken into context in this book that the scenarios are quite American, but having read the book myself, I found myself surprised that I was able to easily associate myself to it. For we all know, FAMILY is on top of the values in our Filipino fabric. It’s rather an understatement. As a matter of fact, when other cultures are willing to do everything for love or for the nation, Filipinos will do everything for the family. However, it might be painful to admit the fact that no matter how we, as Filipinos have tried to preserve this to our very core, we find ourselves witnessing or even being in dysfunctional families. Given this thought, what is noteworthy in this book is that it does not give its readers false hopes. It beautifully acknowledges the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect family. More so, our awareness of our share of dysfunctions as a family will help us recognize, in one way or another, that in the course of all this, it roots to one problem: our tendency to consider faith as a remote aspects of our lives, rather something like of a weekend affair.

Furthermore, I very much appreciate the idea that Wright reaffirms the fundamental truth that the family is, a part of being a unit of the Church, is a domestic church herself. The problem is, the author highlights, “families don’t realize it,” and thus, reminds us of the very significance of the foundation of spirituality in the home.  My personal thoughts to this were rather linked to the situation that the entire world is facing: the lockdowns and confinements due to the pandemic. Certainly, this context has either rekindled family relations, or inversely, opened one wound or another. As the author figures out that the main problem on the disparity between family life and spiritual life is lack of time, the lockdown must perhaps be an opportunity to enrich this forgotten life fabric. So much so, as the churches limit its attendance of the faithful, does this call us to revive the identity of the family as a domestic church. Don’t families find themselves worshipping and praying together at home?

Indeed, there is a question to be answered, a problem to be solved. We are faced now with numerous concerns that, in all means, affect the family: addictions, displacements, divisions, and the like, and so I like how the author has strikingly put it: “Families should mourn the wounded and dying face of God that is all around us.” She reiterates, moreover, that parents need to teach the idea of suffering. This hits my personal conviction of the fact that every Christian must understand and embrace suffering, for without suffering, there is no love, and where there is no love, there will be no dwelling for the divine. It is needless to affirm that it is the primary message of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has redeemed the world out of His supreme sacrifice for humanity.

Add to that, the very essence of spiritual life is relationship. From the very beginning, God invites us into a relationship, an alliance so to speak, and in this alliance comes high and low points, triumphs and disappointments, breaking ups and setting apart, and most importantly, there was redemption. In our alliance with God, what marks it deeply is the reconciliation.

Conversely, the aforementioned aspects are very much present in the family. It is an on-going story, and as Wright’s metaphor would affirm it, it is like that of pregnancy. It is because in the family, there is a movement, from fear to liberty, from “not yet” to fullness, from holding on to letting go, from darkness to light. Thus, we, as members of our family, need to be rooted in this magnificent story of God and its people, so that, later on, we can easily associate ourselves, as a small family belonging to the entire family of God, marked by love and forgiveness.

May our families be, once and for all, a cradle for God and the life of faith He invites us to live. That indeed, is a sacred dwelling.


The book is available on our website : https://bayard.ph/products/sacred-dwelling