Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hallowing the Home

The original Lord cabin, next to Huntington Lake, back in the 1930's.

As I mentioned during Advent, I'm going to start going through Thomas Howard's book Splendor in the Ordinary as I try to declutter and clean my house.  

A few notes on the title:

  • Splendor etymologically means "brilliance, brightness, shine".    
  • Ordinary means "customary, orderly, usual".
 The original title of the book was "Hallowed be this House" which seems more picturesque and fitting to me.
  • "Hallow" means "make holy" and originally derived from a word meaning "health" -- which in turn evokes being "whole" or "healed", or possibly "set apart".   These are rich words
  • House means "dwelling, shelter" and possibly comes from a root word meaning "to hide".  In the early middle ages it came to include "family and retainers" especially if the "house" was a noble one.  So it also seems to have a connotation of something set apart, distinguished.    
  • And of course the phrase "hallowed be this house" evokes the Lord's Prayer and leads right into the central thesis of the book, which implies that we have a part to play in reverently proclaiming God's glory and that through our very ordinary surroundings and routines we can participate in enacting the petition "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done." 

The subtitle of the book in its American version is:  "Your Home as a Holy Place" which brings out some of the same points, though I do not think the language is quite as beautiful.   Maybe to Americans, "Hallowed" means something to do with Halloween (but it's the Splendor version that has the odd black cat on the chair on the cover picture). Anyway!

A few ground guidelines for me:
  • I'm going to take my time, especially at first, though it's tempting to rush right in.  So I'll spend a few days at least n the first chapter.
  • On the other hand, thinking ought to lead to right action or right habit of mind so I want to actually try to make resolutions that will carry over into "real life", so it's not just reading.
For now, as I think about the first chapter, I'm going to think about the house.... which means wandering around looking at it and maybe writing lists.   I will probably tidy at the same time -- that fits in nicely with the conclusion of Christmas-tide, as we take down the tree and the kids slowly trickle back towards their studies or work in different geographical locations.


    1. I read this book last year and it was such an encouragement to me!

      I just finished A Mother's Rule of Life a couple weeks ago and have been slowly filling a notebook with quotes. I think I saw the title first on your blog, so I wanted to say thank you. :)

    2. You're welcome, Mystie!

      A Mother's Rule is a good book --I hope to reread it and blog about it sometime.

    3. LOVE that photo!!!!!

      So excited to know I have slept there!

      i was just talking to Kevin about the HUGE have been able to have a childhood spent up there.....a total childhood fantasy!!

      Just like in some of those books.....

      (okay...I MUST stop reading your blog....and write a post for MINE!!!)


    I would love to hear your thoughts on this!