A few months ago, I read a piece on liturgical living which is an interesting concept of incorporating an awareness of faith and the divine significance in every facet and moment of our life. In this series of articles, I'll pose some ideas for doing this in your everyday life based on how I've done it in my own life.
Part 1: How do we create sacred space in our living and work spaces?
Here are some ideas for your home and some examples from my own life...
- Create a "promise" wall. I struggle with keeping God's promises in mind and this wall reminds me of God's promises that I'm loved and chosen, that He will strengthen me in my weakness, that I need only be still, and that He is good.
- Make a home altar. Create a small place with sacred items and prayers where you can go to pray. You could even make a prayer room or space if you prefer.
- Use meaningful photography and art. There are not only pictures of my family and a few paintings given to me from my family members which I hold dear, but also painted, drawn, and photographed images of Christ on my fireplace mantle which focus my attention on the One who should hold all of my affection.
- Have a special piece of art just for you. I'm about to buy a special piece of art that can't stop thinking about and has special meaning for me for my bedroom: "Forgiven" by Daniel Gerhartz. I'm learning that most of us have a special piece that speaks to us.
- Simplicity. Over the years, I've gotten rid of all the clutter, which allows me to focus on the things most important to me -- the words, images, and meaningful objects that speak to me throughout my home.
- Gospel living. Have some simple reminders of how to live the Gospel at your fingertips. For example, in my bedroom, for years, I've had the spiritual and corporal works of mercy framed on my dresser. They are a reminder each day of what I am called to do for others.
- Refrigerator reminders. When I volunteer with kids at a shelter, they often draw me heartfelt pictures and I put them on my refrigerator as a reminder of the love I have for them.
And here are some ideas for your workspace because we spend even more time at work than home!
- Hang a few "go to" prayers on your bulletin board and pray them throughout the day. These prayers can reflect things that you struggle with on the job (e.g. trust, strength, etc.).
- Put a sacramental or two on your desk -- for example a chaplet.
- Have one of your favorite saints -- an image, prayer, or quote -- by your desk. You'll be reminded to ask for their intercession.
- Keep some Scripture verses handy. I have a few hanging right by my computer, and I bring my Mass readings book to work every day and routinely glance at it.
- Include secular objects or gifts that speak to you of the divine. For example, someone gave me a special rock that reminds me that God is my rock. A past employee gave me a frame that says "You got this" and that reminds me to be confident in my abilities when I face challenges. A special boss of mine gave me a picture she painted and that reminds me to stay colorful and vibrant -- which was always her advice to me.
- Rotate inspiration. I have a rotating stack of cards with inspirational servant leadership and purpose related sayings on them. Though secular and not religious, they remind me of the divine and my call.
- Stack of thank you notes. I keep all the thank you notes people send me in a stack and look at them on harder days. They remind me of how I've made a difference to others and that strengthens me.
- ...And of course pictures of family and friends to remind us of the people we love in our lives.
What I find with these practices of creating sacred space is that they've made my faith more of a "living faith." They've helped me live liturgically. They reinforce and remind me continually of what I hear at Mass and how I'm trying to live my life. They prompt me to keep God on my mind throughout the day and draw my gaze back to Hi. They inspire me and keep me on the right path. They give me space to pray and contemplate. They make me a bolder witness to the faith I love, and live a more liturgical life.
But more than anything, they reflect my priorities. Because let's face it, our living and work spaces show what we really treasure. Let's make sure what we treasure most is our relationship with God and that all we have and do point to Him.