Carrie Gress writes on 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 theme. Movies 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.
Cultivating and nurturing a home is one of the most important things I can imagine doing in life. Growing up, I saw how my grandfather, grandmother, mother, and uncle all worked together to nurture our home, and their example is one I hope to carry forward someday in my own family.