This is nothing else but . . . the gateway to heaven! 

Did you know that there are gateways to heaven all over the world?   These places are made sacred because God is present there in a unique way or because something special happened there.   Think of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and rose.   Or think of Fatima and Lourdes, where Mary appeared, or Assisi, where St. Francis lived.   The divine power present in those places is so great that the very site becomes holy ground.

Now, not all sacred spots are as notable as Assisi or Lourdes.   Today’s first reading (Genesis 28:17) tells how Jacob’s encounter with God in the harsh environment of the desert made that spot holy.   As Jacob lay his head down on a rock, God came to him in a dream and promised to honor the covenant he had made with Abraham.   This experience, along with his vision of a ladder to the skies, led Jacob to call the place a “gateway to heaven” (Genesis 28:17).

Jacob’s experience shows us that any place can become sacred—even your home.   As you develop the habit of coming to Jesus in prayer and worship in your home, you make it your own special sacred space.   It takes on new meaning because Jesus becomes present to you right there where you live.

Of course, your home is a place of such familiarity and distraction that you might sometimes find it hard to sense God’s presence there.   That’s why it’s helpful to carve out a special place just for him, even if it’s just a quiet corner somewhere.   Keep an icon or a crucifix nearby, along with your Bible.   Then, when you come to your prayer corner each day, imagine that Jesus is there with you.   You could even place a chair opposite you, a special space for him to sit with you.   As you sit across from that chair, picture Jesus looking at you with love.   What does it feel like when he leans toward you to listen to you?   What is he saying to you in response?

Your home, whether it is a large mansion, a cramped apartment, a cozy cottage, or even a hospital room or prison cell, can become sacred.   You can find your own gateway to heaven.

Word Among Us