Monday, July 28, 2014

Signs of Undercover Catholics
We all know and admire them.  They impress us in various ways and inspire others to be better people.  As you move through this week, keep an eye out for friends and neighbors who bear these marks of being "undercover Catholics":
  1. They are drawn to beauty, and they know it's not just in the eye of the beholder.
  2. They want to make the world a better place.
  3. They ignore gossip and refrain from detraction.
  4. They know that love is more than just an emotion, and so they choose to love each day.
  5. They look first for the good in others.
  6. They own their possessions, not vice-versa (and they try to give them away as if they belong to someone else).
  7. They care about the common good.
  8. They understand that a person's soul is infinitely precious.
  9. They strive to live in solidarity with those who are vulnerable.
  10. They are willing to make sacrifices for others.
Like most practicing Catholics, these "undercover Catholics" don't necessarily exhibit all of these characteristics--but they wish they did.  In fact, deep down they want to be not just "nice" but holy, and they realize that "The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life is not to become a saint" (Leon Bloy). 


They're looking for more in lifebut they recognize that they are not perfect and they cannot answer all of life's questions on their own. So they're open to belonging to something bigger, though they're not quite sure what that means or where to turn. They long for an encounter with the living God, but they seem to be waiting to meet an authentic witness who can help them on their journey. 

As Pope Francis notes, "people prefer to listen to witnesses: they 'thirst for authenticity' and 'call for evangelizers to speak of a God whom they themselves know and are familiar with, as if they were seeing him'" (EG, n. 150).  "Undercover Catholics" are waiting for someone to speak with love of the One who has first loved us.  They are waiting to meet people here and now who know the Risen Lord, who live in communion with the Holy Spirit, and who do the will of the Heavenly Father. 

In short, they're ready and waiting an invitation to "come and see" (Jn 1:46) how Christian discipleship can continue to transform their life and their world.  May "practicing Catholics" extend  learn how to warmly extend these much-needed invitations.  And may the "undercover Catholics" stay open to Christ's call which comes in a variety of ways, including through his humble body on earth, the Church!