“To decorate the houses with religious pictures is a custom as old as Christianity itself, for the true Christian has always considered his home as nothing less than a Temple of God, and the religious picture as a means to extend and preserve the spirit of Christianity in the home.” ~ Saint John Vianney
When I was growing up, our house was a veritable museum of religious art. That’s what I thought. Every room would have, at the very least, a crucifix on the wall and/or a statue on a shelf. In my parents’ bedroom, there was a huge rosary hanging on the wall over their bed and pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary on another wall. Our bedrooms all had a crucifix on the wall. When someone entered our house, it was certainly easy to identify the fact that believers lived there.
My grandmother’s home was the same way. Grandma loved her statues and pictures. Being from the “old country”, she had a great love for the Lord and a great appreciation of religious art. When I was very young, it almost felt like we were going to church when we visited her.
“That was then, this is now.” It is a real shame to say that, in many households, religious art no longer exists. I have been called to many homes to do anointings or to make a Communion visit and I have seen no religious art on the walls at all. No crucifix, no saints’ pictures, no statues. The house may have been immaculate, it may have reflected certain artistic style, but it didn’t scream “Believer!”
I’m not advocating that we have religious art in our home in order to show some pretense. I’m saying that religious art in our homes is very much a reflection of who we are and what we believe. Some people appear to be ashamed of the Lord. Some people might not have religious art on their walls or shelves because they are afraid of being insulted by others.
Our homes reflect who we are. If we claim to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, why not show it? Why not proudly display a crucifix on the wall? Why not hang pictures of Jesus and Mary? Why not make a visual statement to any who may enter our home that a believer lives there.
Of course, if we are going to place religious art on our walls, we must make sure that we are living as true believers as well. We wouldn’t want someone to be surprised to see a crucifix on our wall if we never gave a hint of belief in our daily lives. In that case, the religious art on our walls would serve to indict us.
FAITH ACTION: Don’t just display images of the faith, live the faith boldly and for all to see. That would please God immensely.