We want to go ‘home’

 

A dear friend is making a new home for herself and her daughters.

Usually, such experiences are joyful. But they are rebuilding their lives in a new house, after losing their home to a fire.

The night after moving into a rental house, she and her youngest daughter were in tears. There were tears of gratitude, but they also were mourning. Though they have somewhere safe to shelter, everything around them is unfamiliar. There’s no favorite T-shirt to snuggle into, no favorite mug to sip hot chocolate from, no familiar corner of the sofa to retreat into.

“We just want to go home,” my friend said.

Home.

The word inspires warmth in our hearts, a longing in our souls for a place that shelters and comforts us like no other. We’re wired for “home.”

God made us that way.

So deep is our yearning that Jesus promised us a home, with Him.

“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” (John 14:2-3).

We are exiles from our source of life, our home. We have a yearning to belong, to be safe, to be home.

“For you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee,” St. Augustine said.

We are “aliens and exiles” here (1 Peter 2:11). Even what we call ourselves as Catholic congregations -- parishioners -- identifies us as travelers. The word’s Greek roots come from a Hellenistic term, paroikos, or “sojourners.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms our state of exile. This “desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for” (CCC 27).

Our souls long for home, for God. Though we may work hard in this life to create a haven of welcome, happiness, and respite for ourselves and our loved ones, there is only one place where we find complete solace, happiness, truth, and love.

Until we attain perfection in the glory of heaven, we are in “-- exile far from the Lord,” longing to be united with our king (CCC 769).

As we sojourn here, we echo my sweet friend’s mournful expression.

We just want to go home.