Saturday, August 15, 2009

Visible Catholicism

The Booklady has written three postings at her blog on mental prayer on 8/10/09, 8/12/09, and 8/13/09 that I found very informative. I struggle with my prayer life, as I suppose do most who draw breath in this life. The Booklady reminds us of the importance of nurturing our interior life. By doing that, we will give expression to that spiritual life in our daily physical living out of that interior faith. In fact, the deeper our hidden interior life, the more visible will be our exterior faith life. We need to consciously foster that exterior faith life, too. We need to make visible our Catholic faith.

We can make our Catholicism visible in little and big ways. On both our cars is a bumper sticker that says, "You can't be Catholic and pro-abortion." My family and I say grace before meals in restaurants. I cross myself when I go by a Catholic Church, even if I am in a car with someone else. On Ash Wednesday, I try to go to mass in the morning so I will wear the ashes all through my work day. Eucharistic processions are a public act of faith and adoration in the Real Presence. I have an image of the Sacred Heart on my key chain, and sometimes a co-worker will need to borrow my keys because I have a master key to certain rooms. I don't eat meat on Fridays throughout the year, and when someone asks me if I'm a vegetarian, it gives me an opportunity to say why I'm not eating meat.

These are all ways (and there are so many others) that give us an opportunity to show the distinctiveness of our Catholicism. We are a consecrated people, a people set apart. We are in the world, but not of the world. As Catholics, we should appear different; our faith should be different from what the world offers. Let us strive to make visible our Catholicism so that others (and ourselves!) may see it, wonder about it, and be changed by it.


the booklady said...

Well said Pete! May we truly be visible witnesses to His Word!

We have to work on the interior, but then we have to courageously reflect what we believe, not afraid to stand out. Thank you for those concrete examples, Pete, simple, but important things we can do to let others know who we are and what we believe. I can remember a time -- when I was much younger -- when I was shy about my Catholic faith. Mistakenly, I thought doing the sorts of things you suggest imposed my beliefs on others. Fortunately, I've learned a few things since then.

Great post! Ora et Labora ... Pray and work!

Pete Caccavari said...

I have long been timid about espousing my faith. I have only recently gotten a bit bolder, but I have a long way to go. I think of the prayer in the Book of Acts: "grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness" (Acts 4:29). The martyrs are such a powerful example to me. I think especially of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp, and St. Maximillian Kolbe. I have been reading Veritatis Splendor, and I really appreciate the relationship between martyrdom and truth which Pope John Paul II discusses (sections 90-94).