/> Raising Angels: One Focal Point

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

One Focal Point

I've spent a lot of time over the last few days thinking about our house. Our project manager started asking me to pick out things like floors, tubs, and facets to get a detailed budget. I got completely overwhelemed.

There's something about starting with a totally blank slate that has sent me into a tail spin. I've been researching and clipping pictures for about two years and still don't have a vision.

I spent two hours Monday going over my ideas with a friend who has a real eye for design. One of the most important design elements is the living room since it will be the first thing people see when they come in the front door. There is a foyer that leads right into the room with the fireplace at its focal point.

On our recent trip to Ireland I fell in love with their stone walls. I loved their rustic feel. When I looked through pictures of fireplaces I have saved, everyone of them was stone. I also want to hang a big work of art by a friend over the mantle. He has two I'm in love with. One is of the Crucified Christ and one is the baby Jesus' hand reaching out of the hay. I haven't decided on which one yet, but I know one of the two will have that place of prominence in my home.

"I guess I like the stone," I said to my friend.

"Then that needs to be the first thing you pick out. Let everything else flow from that."

The more I thought about what she said, the more I began to see the whole picture. I began to see how each room could take a portion of the one next to it so that the whole house would have a definite look, so to speak.

When I was praying last night, God spoke to me about this. Our lives are often like decorating this house. We get so overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and so caught up in all the little details that we can't function. What is vital is to have one focal point.

When that focal point becomes the center of your attention, the rest of the "stuff" seems to fade away. After that happens you begin to see how that focal point can bleed into other parts of your life. Before you know it, your life has a plan, a theme, a purpose.

This Lent I will make that my aim. I want to have one focal point and I want it to be Jesus.


Blogger Sister Anne said...

Thanks for a perfect reminder; it was Jesus speaking through you! (I have been "anxious and upset about many things" these past two days.)

5:17 PM  
Blogger Theo C said...

I like your Blog, it is a nice witness of a life that is busy but where Jesus and the Church still matters. It sounds like quite a house you are building! I especially liked the part about our Lord being the focal point of the home. Sometimes people even establish a shrine in their homes-- a corner where a stand holds a statue of Our Lady or St. Joseph or the Sacred Heart and maybe a candle. Some homes even have recessed spaces in the walls for such things, often with an arched top. Friends of mine go to their home shrine each day where they pray the rosary as a family. They write out intentions in a small book that is left in the devotional haven.

Just a thought.

Thanks for visiting my Blog, even if my deranged mind and the accompanying pictures make it a rather peculiar place.

God bless!

6:24 PM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Sister: Thanks for the encouragement. After ten summers volunteering with the Missionaries of Charity, I feel as if all religious are my family. I'll let you know how I do through Lent. Any pointers are always welcome.

Theo: Between my time with the MC's and a brother who is a seminarian, I have quite a collection of religious art. My husband gives me a hard time but I love having the constant reminder, not to mention the teachable moments it provides for the kids. I'll keep visiting your blog because I'm dying to figure you out.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Theo C said...

Your brother is studying to be a priest, for a diocese or religious order?

It is a wonderful thing to have a priest or religious sister in a family. I will say a prayer for his vocation. It takes real faith and some degree of courage to seek the priesthood in the current climate of scandal and controversy.


As for my website, well, a little mystery can be fun-- as long as I can keep a few of my marbles.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Aaron is studying to be a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Savannah. He is in his 3rd year at the North American College in Rome. He'll be ordained a deacon on October 5th at St. Peter's. Awesome! Inspiring! Encouraging! He will take any amount of prayer he can get.


9:46 PM  
Blogger Theo C said...


Okay, there was an Aaron who did his pre-theology with David Koettner at Mount Saint Mary's in Emmitsburgh, MD and later went to Rome. He must be the guy. Even David would not know me for sin. Your brother has a wondrously "murderous" last name. The men at the NAC sometimes have the option of being ordained in Rome by the Pope. Pretty cool!

It is a tough program though. Guys who go to American seminaries are done after four years of theology. The NAC adds a fifth year to finish the STL degree.

Yes, I will keep him on my prayer list.

God bless!

PS: The NAC produces a great prayerbook that is available in some stores. If you cannot find it, maybe he could send you one? It is famous.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

How did you know that? I actually visited Aaron at the Mount and we took him and David to dinner since he is from our diocese.

Aaron told me Monday that they announced who would be ordaining their class and it is the Bishop of the Military Diocese who is a former rector at the NAC.

I'll ask my brother about the prayer book. I've never even heard of it let alone seen it. What's it called so I can keep an eye out for it?

11:22 PM  
Blogger Theo C said...

Archbishop Edwin O’Brien is a blessing to the Church. He is a courageous man in the faith, putting out a release telling Catholics who dissent on Church teachings, particularly regarding the sanctity of unborn human life, that they must abstain from receiving holy communion. He has spent a lot of years in Rome and is very much at home there. Your brother will always be able to trace his apostolic succession and orders through this holy man.

He has offices in Washington, DC and we regularly see him at Masses here.

The NAC prayerbook is called MANUAL OF PRAYERS. Here is a link for it. There are a few typos, but it is over 400 pages and comes in black leather.


5:28 PM  
Blogger Amy Parris said...

Thanks again Theo. I'm looking forward to keeping in touch with you. By the way, our former pastor, Father Brett Brannen is now the Assistant Rector at the Mount. If you ever get the chance to meet him or attend something he's teaching at, go for it. He is such a holy man of God.

8:52 PM  

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