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A Theology of Home

Home. It is a magical word that resonates with all of us. Even those from broken homes, or homes that no longer exist, there is still something in the idea that is sought after. Home is that place where we are meant to be safe, nurtured, known for who we are, to freely live and love.

Home’s universal appeal populates culture. Take Me Home, Country Road, Sweet Home Alabama, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas are a few songs that invoke the themeMovies and literature end happily with protagonists, like Odysseus, finally going home. The entire goal of the American pass-time of baseball is to be safe at home. YouTube videos of joyful homecomings fill up our social media feeds and we spend billions of dollars constructing and decorating our own houses, turning them into Home Sweet Home.

Our homes are the great theatre where the drama of our lives unfolds, as G.K. Chesterton eloquently said:

The place where babies are born, where men die, where the drama of mortal life is acted, is not an office or a shop or a bureau. It is something much smaller in size and much larger in scope. And while nobody would be such a fool as to pretend that it is the only place where people should work, or even the only place where women should work, it has a character of unity and universality that is not found in any of the fragmentary experiences of the division of labour.

Home, by its nature, foreshadows heaven. Pope Saint John Paul II’s final words in this life were “Let me go to the house of the Father.” He wanted to go home – to the home that all of us are willed by God to go to, even if he allows our own will to lead us somewhere else.

Ironically, despite the innate human desire that there is for home, the notion that someone would actually want to make a home, providing a place of safety, love, cleanliness, order, education, and care, has fallen out of favor. Could there be, in the minds of millions of women today, anything worse than being a “homemaker”?

In the 1960s, women left home. In The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan articulated an idea that resonated with millions of Western women: “the ache that has no name.” When Friedan and her feminist friends asked, “Is this all there is?” they assumed the answer was “yes.” In their female frenzy to escape home, the elite narrative became that women should offer a collective non serviam, a resounding “no” to serving their families, their children, or any future but their own.

Wendell Berry captured some of the illogic of liberated women when he asked: “Why would any woman who would refuse, properly, to take the marital vow of obedience (on the ground, presumably, that subservience to a mere human being is beneath human dignity) then regard as ‘liberating’ a job that puts her under the authority of a boss (man or woman) whose authority specifically requires and expects obedience?”

Read more at The Catholic Thing. 

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