May 17, 2007

In Your Face Catholicism

I'm sorry to report but we are, collectively, a limp-wristed family of Christians. It used to be that "they" knew we were Catholics by our outward signs, our attire, our demeaner, our gestures, our visible Sacramentals, our statues, our processions, our attendance at Mass at "weird times", our rules, our regular fasting.

Now, with perhaps a few exceptions during the litugical year, we can get away with only going to Mass on Sunday (and we gripe about that). You can wear clothes you would wear to the laundromat to church. We think it's irrelevant to have statues in our church or in our home so we've removed them. We can barely bother to fast for one measly hour before receiving Communion (and some of us spend a lot of time guesstimating exactly when). We never carry a Rosary with us all the time. We don't wear crosses, scapulars or medals anymore. We don't cross ourselves before praying in public. We don't pray in public. We don't carry the Lord into the world with processions anymore.

Ask yourself: When you tell people that you are Catholic, are they surprised? Do they say: "I never would have guessed?"

What we need is "in your face Catholicism". It's critical that we are interiorially disposed towards the Faith and we live it and believe it with our whole being. However, we need to quit hiding out. Quit acting like Catholics skulking in the Catacombs. The last time I checked Queen Elizabeth I was still dead so quit acting like she's going to send her troops to kill you for practicing your Faith. And, even if someone is going to kill you for practicing your Faith should you fear that? Think about it. If the Apostles had decided to lie low because they were afraid of death and persecution we would not have a Faith. Almost all of them died horrible deaths. They knew that would probably happen, yet they kept on.

We need to dress like we are going to something REALLY important when we attend Mass. Are you dressing better for a job interview then Mass? We need to surround ourselves with Catholic art and statues at our homes and in our offices. We need to plaster our vehicles with Catholic bumperstickers. We need to pray in public and cross ourselves. I don't care if you are at an ecumenical prayer service: be a Catholic and act like one. We need more Processions. We need more people praying the Rosary (and holding one) while they walk their dogs. We need to read a Catholic Bible on the bus and tell people it's a Catholic Bible. We need to create more teaching and evangelizing moments. We need to quit being sissies.

The liberals have absolutely no problem expressing their opinion. I look around and, I think, there are more shrines to the late Senator Paul Wellstone in this town then to the Virgin Mary. Clearly, something is wrong.

My home has prominent paintings of the Holy Family, Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus as well as a large crucifix with a corpus. Eventually, I hope to have backyard statues. I publicize Adoration at my parish and I have a regular hour. I have a Relevant Radio bumpersticker on my car. Someone keeps stealing it and my Rosary sticker. Currently, I need a new Rosary sticker.

I can always do more. I resolve to keep being a local big mouth about the Faith. I resolve to start praying in public more and crossing myself. I resolve to carry my Rosary and pray it when I walk around Como Lake near my house. I resolve to wear my chapel veil or cap more. I don't always wear it. Sometimes, I forget to bring it. I should do like my friend, Adoro, does and keep one in my car.

What can you do?


Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Just to be're not going to wear your veil while walking around lake Como, are you? Because that's not required. You can if you want, and I'll still be willing to walk with you, but you should know it's not necessary, and now that it's getting warmer you may not want to have that on your head.


OK, seriously, AMEN SISTER!

Yeah, I have sacramentals everywhere. My house is full of artwork. My immediate coworkers know that I'm an unapologetic Catholic and they come to me with the occasional question.

Most of my co workers know I'm Catholic because I have a big mouth.

I was surprised a few weeks ago by a co worker who had no idea I was Catholic. She told me she was, too. I had no idea.

You're right...most Catholics don't talk about their faith or have any outward sign of it. Many don't even attempt to live it. Then there are many who live it quietly and joyfully, and I am convinced they do a great work in the footsteps of St. Therese.

May 17, 2007 8:21 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: No smarty pants I will not wear my veil around the lake. What do you think I am? A nun? Oh, ha, the nuns around here don't wear veils! What a joke! Ha-ha. I crack myself up.

All: some orders do wear the habit around here but the older and larger orders don't.

I can, hereby, testify to the in your face Catholicism of Adoro's residence. I'm surprised her dogs don't wear scapulars.

May 17, 2007 8:26 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said... dogs have blessed Guardian Angel medals that have inscribed on them, "Guardian Angel, protect my pet".

And I've had my dogs blessed...

I wanted St. Francis medals for pets but I couldn't find one, but my Guardian Angel is with me all the time so I figured they were already under his protection anyway....

May 17, 2007 8:49 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Wow, Chrism Cathy, what a great message!

You might wear the veil on your walks to keep the gleam of the chrism off of your brow from blinding oncoming bikers and walkers.

May 18, 2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger Sanctus Belle said...

Approximately what percentage of women wear chapel veils in the cities? I've never seen one in my diocese except at Latin Mass, even there maybe a handful wear them. I have a beautiful long black veil, but I need more guts.

May 18, 2007 12:02 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: See I KNEW it! I should have my cats blessed but they hate sitting in their carriers. I don't want them hissing at Father while he tries to bless them.

Ray: The post is called "in your face Catholicism" so if you think that chrism oil is blinding enough to make folks like Saul falling off his horse all over the lake path, perhaps I should try it? :-)

Sanctus Belle: Hmmm...not sure. Maybe I should do a poll on that? There aren't a whole lot. I'm the only one at my parish. Depending what church I'm in, if I go to a different one, I'm may be the only one. But, without someone making a statement....I get varying responses to my veil. Guys usually think it's great. If I get grief (usually the frozen stare) it's typically from other women. Oh, well, too bad, is what I say. I'm not dressed for them. I'm not there for them either.

May 18, 2007 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Chandler Bing said...

I actually wear my chapel veil when trimming the hedges in my yard. Is that weird?

Good post by the way.

May 18, 2007 8:10 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

You are not fooling me, Chandler.

May 18, 2007 9:19 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

I'm not fooled, either.

May 18, 2007 9:23 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Cathy - This is such a good post - I mean that - I linked to it on Abbey1. Who is Chandler?

May 18, 2007 10:12 PM  
Blogger Laura The Crazy Mama said...

You guys are such goofballs, I'm not sure I want your types "showing off" our Catholicism Hahahaha, just kiddin'! Don't worry Cathy, I'm doing my part. I'm unapologetic about being Catholic and have even gotten in some GREAT discussions because I wouldn't let a topic past without starting a sentence like, "Well, MY FAITH teaches us..." and making sure they know I'm Catholic, and find that we agree more than we disagree with most christians. Yesterday, I was talking to a "bible only" christian and I was talking about forgiveness and how I went to confession after years of holding back one, embarassing sin and she stopped me and said, "well, if you tell God you are sorry..." and I said, "Yes, of course that's true, but MY FAITH teaches that in the bible God gives the power to forgive to the apostles..." and told her the passage and went on like it's just fact so there. She just nodded and listened to the rest of the story. See? I'm doing my best here, Cathy! I hope you keep up that enthusiasm over the years! The trick is to act like being a devout Catholic is mainstream and not all "Jesus-freaky". Even though I love being Catholic, if I SHOVE it in people's faces, it can be offputting so I just try to make it be one, seamless part of my life. Believe me, you get more flies with that honey!

May 19, 2007 9:31 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Laura: I agree that you don't want to be TOO intense. However, I think most of us could ramp it up a tad by just carrying more of the outward signs that designate us as Catholics in the first place.

I agree that we are a wacky group here. I hope we aren't scaring too many folks away! :-)

May 19, 2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger elena maria vidal said...

What a great post!

May 20, 2007 7:47 AM  
Anonymous marie said...

"It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching."

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

I love these quotes from St. Francis, it teaches us to LIVE our faith daily.

I wear clothes that are NOT low cut or hipsters I also wear a Crucifix when going out and about and in my home there are many statues. I also have a statue of our Lady in my garden.

But the one thing I TRY to do no matter how I'm 'feeling' is to smile and simply say hello to all who pass my way.
If our expressions convey happiness, contentment and joy THIS is what the unconverted will see. How do I know this?
Because I was once one of the unconverted. I was driving past a Church and saw the people coming out and the happy expressions of TRUE JOY leapt at me. I waited and after the people had left I went into the Church where the Pastor saw me and invited me to come back. I did for a year and was then baptized into the Lutheran Faith. I converted to the Catholic Church 3 years later, but that is another story. I am a Catholic now for 12 years and will die a happy Catholic.

We are the face of Christ to those who dont believe.

Great post,

Yours in Christ,


Ps sorry if this has been done twice lol.

May 21, 2007 12:04 AM  

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