Altar and Home

Altar and Home was a publica­tion of Conception Abbey in the 1930s-1960s focusing on the lit­urgy and its relationship with the home. This series begins anew that same vision, on a smaller scale, of promoting both Altar and Home.

In the earliest days of the Church, the family home was the usual setting for the com­munal celebration of the Eucha­ristic liturgy. The faithful gath­ered as Church in the home of a neighbor, united in the Body of Christ by the bonds that had been formed through baptism. Strengthened by the sacraments and by the zeal of her members, the Church flourished and grew. Eventually, most family homes were too small to accommodate the large numbers participating in the saving mysteries of the Faith. It became necessary to use—or build—larger spaces for the cele­bration of the Mass. These Chris­tian temples, or churches, remain the ordinary locale for the altar of Christian sacrifice.

Those historical origins make plain the fundamental unity be­tween the Christian home and the Christian altar. The reality of communion in Christ remains the same today as it was then, but contemporary social and cultural conditions raise the urgent neces­sity to reaffirm this intimate con­nection between Altar and Home.

Good Catholic homes must cul­tivate among families a particular love and devotion for the altar, and for the communion which it brings about. Each Christian must recognize and affirm the sa­cred worth of the altar, in know­ing that the Eucharistic Sacri­fice—the sacramental memorial of the saving act of redemption which is Christ himself— is daily offered upon it. From this altar we receive the heavenly banquet at which the Bread of Life is dis­pensed and thence received into our homes; and from our homes to the world.

The Eucharistic Sacrifice offered upon the altar is the “source and summit” of Catholic worship. In like manner the Christian home is both the foundation and goal of a well-ordered community and society. Together, altar and home are the means established by God by which humanity is to realize its supernatural destiny: attainment of eternal glory in the beatitude of heaven. If altar and home are de­graded or removed, then society collapses into the barbarism of life without meaning.

Join us in fostering a deeper ex­perience and appreciation of the liturgy that together we may more fully enter into the mystery of Christ at the Altar.

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