Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Beautiful Corner



The room is dark, which might lead us to think that this dad is getting the children ready for bed at night. But look beyond and we see through the bathroom window that it is more likely morning. Maybe it's Saturday and he's letting mom sleep in. Already the candle is burning by the Beautiful Corner in the living room.

The Beautiful Corner, (sometimes called, The Front Corner, The Holy Corner, or even God's Place) is a sacred space in every Eastern Christian home. Ideally, it is seen as one walks in through the front door, announcing at once, believers live here! The purpose of the space is worship; calling a family to prayer.

There really aren't rules about putting together a Beautiful Corner, more like suggestions: the corner should include icons of Christ and the Mother of God. Images of saints should not be higher than that of Christ. There shouldn't be posters of sports or entertainment figures near by.  That's just good common sense.

But we must never think we've got God in a box or in a corner, let alone think we've got God in our corner. That's  dangerous thinking. Remember the verse in the Book of Genesis 28:16 when Jacob woke from his dream-sleep he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it." I'd suggest that could be said about every place where people gather.

I'd suggest The Beautiful Corner calls us to the awareness of the divine presence which is everywhere: 

  • God in the corner of the nursing home lobby, where folks hope for a visitor.
  • God in the corner of my desk drawer where I find the address of someone I know I really ought to write to or phone. 
  • God in the corner of the classroom where a young person is trying to hide. 
  • God in the corner of the party or gathering where someone is invariably without fellowship. 
  • God in the corner of the parish church where "I've seen that woman at Mass for twenty years and I've never bothered to go over and introduce myself."
  • God in the corner, which is my TV screen, playing the children's aid info-mercial.

Ah, God in the corner of my mind, where a small voice urges me to "Do something about that," whatever good thing that may be.



11 comments:

  1. This complements your Gloom Busting post from the other day. By having this dedicated corner in your house, you keep God's presence in the forefront of your mind. It keeps God in your thoughts as you leave and return home, and how can we not be better people when God is with us?

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    1. Google: Beautiful Corner and you'll see dozens of pictures. Some are modest affairs; others are expansive and even kind of extravagant. AA suggests:"Keep it simple" as a life-stance. Keeping a candle there helps to make sure the Beautiful Corner doesn't become invisible or something we start to take for granted as we walk by.

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  2. Very beautiful, Father! There is an excellent book called "The Little Oratory" all about prayer and creating these beautiful, sacred spaces for the home. It even comes with color icons.

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  3. Good Sunday Morning, Alice. I send a blessing to all your family. Remembering everyone happily and gratefully. Thanks for telling me about this book which I'll be sure to check out.

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  4. I can always trust your posts, to find new ways to bring Christ closer to my heart. Sometimes, I am shocked into the awareness of the needs of others. God Bless.

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    1. Thanks for your honesty. We all need "a shock" sometimes. Scary when the Gospel no longer shocks us!

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  5. These Orthodox families pray together as families should. How many of us even sit down and take a meal together these days. There is something to be said for keeping the family unit alive through a unified prayer. Teaching our children that God is important in our lives is the best way to live by example so they grow in faith and keep those values with them. I feel as though we, as Catholics, have very much lost that. As have most religious denominations.

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    1. Yes. Get this, in Orthodoxy, when someone approaches the priest and asks about being Baptized, the priest sends that him/her to an Orthodox family in the parish to go and LIVE WITH THEM for some weeks TO SEE HOW BEING AN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN IS DONE. My goodness, can you imagine!

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  6. I am a teacher and I feel God in the corner every time I get frustrated with that student who acts out, knowing many times people deal with pain in different ways.

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    1. Amen to that. Bless your work and the young people you teach.

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  7. I appreciate that you call us to examine our selves from the inside out, raising our awareness of self and others. I admit that I wish I had spent more time instilling the importance of worshiping together as a family.

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