If you have taken the train from Newry to Belfast recently then you’ll realise that it is a multi-cultural/multi-faith experience as these days so many travellers from Dublin head North to explore Ireland’s second city.
This week, I got on the 8-carriage train and was lucky enough to get a single seat cramped amid a large family of tourists. I had planned to write some cards on the hour-long journey but hesitated in taking them out of my bag since they were all Christian cards, indeed one of them was a Mass card which was to be delivered later that day. As the train pulled into Portadown station, I asked myself why I had delayed in showing my faith – did I think I would be judged? or did I simply want to blend in when I knew I probably wasn’t with other Christians?
The concept of wearing your faith is a response to our call to be disciples – to share the beauty of God to others as reflected by our actions, the way we live and how we treat others daily. We should not be afraid to wear our faith as an open witness to our faith. The Bible says, ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. By this all people will know that you are my disciples’. John 13:34–35.
In this world, we are called to be witnesses of the faith we profess. This includes what we say, how we behave and even in the symbols that we wear as well as wherever we are. So, if you are wearing a cross, ashes from Lent or a guardian angel, we can be an identifier for others of our Christian faith. Wearing our faith is a reminder to us, the wearer, that God is with us always. Wearing your faith on your sleeve, on your chest shows the world that faith means something to you. It shows that you don’t forget that God is present in your life in every moment. Who knows, you might encourage others to be brave enough to openly show that they believe in God too.
Showing your catholic faith requires some work. You must set a good example for others to see your true faith. You should help those in need and think of the impact of your words and actions on other – not always an easy thing to do. Try to play a more prominent role in your faith community and help each other improve the world, even by simple acts of kindness. A simple gesture such as smiling at a stranger or helping an elderly cross the street can show your faith.
‘Smiling is infectious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.
I thought about that smile,
then I realised its worth.
A single smile, just like mine
could travel round the earth’.
This poem by Spike Milligan demonstrates that other people are inspired by our faith, words and actions, so let’s start ‘an epidemic’. Be proud of your faith heritage and become a ‘super spreader’.