Be Transparently Catholic
September 19, 2014
Filed In: Church and Culture
In the 8th grade, I read the great American Classic, “To Kill A Mockingbird.” One of the scenes in the book that has stuck with me all of these years is Atticus Finch explaining to his daughter Scout that he can’t be one person in public and another person at home. That integrity of character is something we should all be striving for.
I’ve found in my own life that I tend to shy away from praying in public. We recently went on a work retreat with Alison’s practice. The dining was family-style and we were sitting with a pretty big group of people. I prayed the blessing privately, but was disappointed in myself for skipping the sign of the cross. It’s not that I was embarrassed, it’s that I didn’t want to make other people uncomfortable. I fell short of the integrity of character that I claim to want to have.
Do you have someone in your family or your friends group that’s Catholic, but you frequently find yourself wondering if they’re practicing? Maybe it only comes up when you go and visit them during holidays. Will they have an Advent wreath? Can I talk about what I gave up for Lent?
One of my hopes for my family is that we’re so transparently Catholic that there’s never a question. It’s not my goal that we’re in everyone’s face about it. I want us to practice our faith in public just as we do at home. So when we’re eating out, we pray just as if we were around our own dinner table. When we’re driving somewhere with people and an emergency vehicle passes by, we say a prayer out loud just as we do in our own cars. When we’re out exercising, if we chose to make that a prayerful time, we pray out loud. When we’re traveling or on vacation, we maintain our prayer routine. There’s no vacation from God!
The fact is, we’re pretty bold about being Catholic in our own homes. We’re pretty bold about being Catholic at our parish. But what about in all aspects of our lives? We’re ambassadors of the Church. We’re always teaching our children. So if they see this split personality, we run the risk of them adopting the same practice in their own lives.
There’s nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. Be transparently Catholic. Be who you are.