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.