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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Foundational Blessings

There is a Catholic custom of a three-stage blessing of a house being constructed. The first blessing is of the foundation, and since we are close to starting framing, it seemed natural to go ahead with that stage of the blessing.

The custom is to have religious medals incorporated into the foundation at intervals around the house, to symbolize and represent the desire of those building the house to have the favor of the prayers of the Saints on our behalf. Below, I've listed the six medals we placed into the foundation block of our home, and the reasoning behind each.

1 and 2: We placed medals of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary to the left and right of where our front door will be, the entrance of our home. It seemed appropriate to include Joseph and Mary at the front door of our home, the two entrusted with the care of Our Savior during his early life, and - it is easy to argue - the two who most uniquely experienced the Lord. Our prayer is that St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin pray for us, for a loving marriage, a blessed family, and devotion to Jesus in all that we do. Further, that our home be open to the moving of God, just as they opened their lives and home to the work of the Spirit.

3: St. Joan of Arc was placed at the right-front corner of the house, where I will pass every day on my way to work at the church which bears her name. Joan's dedication to God and her perseverance in battle are examples to learn from. We ask St. Joan to pray for us, and for our now-home parish, that we be graced with the ability to demonstrate similar dedication to duty, and perseverance even under persecution.

4. St. Francis and St. Anthony (combined medal) at the back corner of the foundation. St. Francis is often seen depicted as a saint who cared deeply for the animals of Creation. On his feast day, it is customary for church members to bring their pets to a special "blessing of the pets". Because of our love of our dogs (and parrot) we placed St. Francis near the back yard, asking for prayers on behalf of our pets, that they will remain healthy and continue to bring us joy, as our Creator intended. St. Anthony is considered the source of Christian Monasticism. While we have not entered into the life of a Monk, we have attempted to make our worldly possessions only tools of hospitality and convenience, not ends unto themselves. We ask St. Anthony to pray on our behalf, that such an attitude remain the desire of our hearts.

5. At the left front corner was placed a medal of St. Michael the Archangel, defending us in battle. We pray that God protects and defends our home from the minions of Satan, and that St. Michael and the angels that watch over us remain faithful to their created purpose as messengers of God.

6. Finally, a medal of the Divine Mercy was placed at the back left corner of the house. The Divine Mercy is a devotion to the Mercy of Christ, demonstrated by the act of God becoming man in order to fulfill, once and for all, the Divine Covenant. We pray that we live, daily, in the fullness of the endless and boundless Mercy offered to us through Christ's Passion: His life, suffering, death, and resurrection. The main text of the Divine Mercy devotion:

"Holy Father, I offer you, the Body and the Blood, Soul and Divinity, of your dearly Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world. For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us, and on the whole world."


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