Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chapel of Reparation

I consider my little chapel to be a "chapel of reparation" - I can't remember whether I've mentioned that before, or not. I try to conform my behavior in the chapel to the way one should always act in the presence of Our Lord (which people don't always do in our local churches!), even though the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved there. 

It's a little chapel, only about 9 feet wide by 15 feet long, but I am trying to have all the accoutrements you'd find in a well-appointed cathedral. To that end, I have collected candles and candlesticks, thuribles (I actually have 2!), a tabernacle, hanging oil lamps, and even vestments. 

Recent additions include some taller candlesticks. These can be very expensive, and I'm not made of money, so I had to find some alternatives. I already had brass candlesticks (all of which were procured on e-bay), but I wanted taller ones, and I wanted to be able to have 1-1/2" candles on my altar. I bought wooden candlesticks for a relatively low price, attached rubber chair-leg protectors, painted the whole assembly gold, and - voila! Here are some photos of the process and the finished product:

First, a white base coat.

Next, I spray-painted them gold.

Lined up, ready to go into the chapel!

In place, with the larger candles!

This shows the rubber chair-leg protector. The candlestick
was meant only for a pillar candle. The protector is secured
with a single screw, which gives it surprising stability.
I wonder if I will ever light those larger candles! They are expensive. So for everyday use, I still have my 7/8" diameter candles, which are also not cheap. I have six on the altar, but only light two of them on most days. For major feasts and solemnities, I light all 6 (for lauds and vespers). Probably, I'll light those large candles at Christmas and Easter. I found relatively low-cost brass candlesticks that were a little taller than the ones I've used for years. Here's the altar with both rows of candles:

Here are a couple of other items that I purchased recently (also from e-bay): 

The taller candles meant I'd need a better way to light them. This lighter and snuffer is a little dented, and needed a little Brasso to clean up the copper parts, but it turned out pretty well. I don't mind giving older, used items a new life in my chapel; I'm a little older and used, myself!

I also found this candelabra set for a very low price on e-bay. The photo is meant to show the "before and after" effects of brasso. They turned out pretty well. Again, there is a dent here and there on those cups that hold the candles, but overall, they are in very good shape. Not as fancy as I might like, but until I have thousands of dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I will have to make do with this level of quality.
Of course, the most important thing for a good prayer life is to have a chapel of the heart that is properly prepared to worship God. But we are physical beings, and a physical exterior environment can be quite a boon in cultivating one's prayer life. One of the reasons we don't always see the proper behaviors in our churches is that the environment is not conducive to a sense of awe and reverence. I'm trying to make my chapel convey such as atmosphere, in reparation for the felt banners, gauze streamers, and other less noticeable offenses of the churches I've visited.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

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