Thursday, 18 November 2010

An outward sign of Grace

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, in the aftermath of Pope Benedict's visit has asked us to be more public in demonstrating our Catholic faith. Good. Few would argue with the sentiment but some might query how precisely, we bring it about.
Forget the XXL Rosary prominently displayed around the neck, the 'I am a Catholic' T shirt or the bumper sticker proclaiming: 'If you can read this you must be a Catholic.' He was not thinking of such things; what he meant (I interpret) is that he wants us to show our Faith by example so that the light of Christ emanates from our personalities. Again, helping old ladies across the road is good, any Good Samaritan deed is to be commended as being what ++ Nichols had in mind.

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen

But there is more to it than that. We can make public displays of our Faith without ramming it down people's throats or being overly and offputtingly pious. We can abstain from meat on Fridays (as many still do); this often produces questions which give an opportunity to gently enlighten as to our beliefs.
We can also say our Grace before meals in public. My wife and I have been doing this for some years and, each time I do it I cringe internally, moral coward that I am.
However, last week in the arrivals cafe at Heathrow's Terminal 4, we observed an attractive young woman in her late twenties cross herself before tucking into a very unpenitential slice of Black Forest Gateau.
It cheered me considerably,  we were not alone and since then I have made my public Grace without the usual butterflies.
We need to do this more. Every time we eat in private or public we need to thank God, our benefactor and show the world that we are Catholic.


  1. This is a good ideia.I don't think at all you are a coward, quite the opposite!
    Another way to show our catholicism is to have a rosary always handy. Many times mine is mixed with my keys, or cellphone so, when I take one of those things from my pocket, sometimes it drops off on the floor and everybody looks. Or talking about Mass and Communion with a fellow catholic in public...

  2. Yes, I forgot the Rosary (how could I). A splendid idea. The Rosary makes a very effective signal to others.

  3. Whenever two or three of us Catholics are together we could start a collection!

    Sorry Richard ... couldn't resist it. At our church we often have more than one collection and an appeal for more money.

    Seriously though, one modern way of showing our Christianity is by Blogging (as you do so well) and by maintaining websites or joining social sites like Facebook. You never know whether someone somewhere may per chance visit your site and perhaps meet Christ for the first time. My Blog gets hits from far and wide ... I hope I do my Faith justice.

    God bless you and yours.

  4. Dear Richare,
    Just found your blog and was intreiged by the post.
    Yes we have always said grace in public and I still sometimes think 'will anyone notice.' However our children never seem to hesitate and the little ones are so cute with their making the sign of the cross, that I am so thinkful that they never hesitate. Perhaps it will give someone a reason to pause and think about it.
    I agree that living our faith is a very important part of evangelising. As we do so in the home more it spreads out even if it is only our children carrying on those important daily displays
    God Bless

  5. Richard,
    I am sorry about the name spelling I am always am typing to fast and don't always check my spelling.
    That comes from trying to squeeze in between life, children etc,