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September 2010 - "Catholic Boldness and the happily flapping scapular"

posted Sep 12, 2010, 1:01 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 13, 2010, 5:44 AM ]
"Catholic Boldness and the happily flapping scapular" say that one five times as fast as you can!
By nature, I am told that I am an extrovert. I suppose that in my line of work, I have needed to be for no other reason than as a survival mechanism. For the last eighteen years, I could be no "shrinking violet" and have survived as I have. Or, for you Detroit Red Wing Fans, as Mickey Redmond would say: "This is no place for a nervous person".
So during vacation these last two weeks, I pondered on this question: Why am I not more "bold" in my Catholicity?
I have had some opportunities in the past few months to "defend" the Catholic faith, and on occasion have taken advantage of those rare moments when I can educate someone either friend or stranger, regarding their misconceptions of our faith. But, I wonder if it would be better for me to be more "out there" in the world than I have been in the past. I confess that I have been guilty of "tucking the Scapular" on some occasions when in public. Have you done this too? I asked myself why I did this a couple of times. Why am I hiding my devotion to the Brown Scapular? Do I really have a devotion at all? What am ashamed or afraid of?
The interactions that I have had with people about our faith normally come when I find myself in a "spirited discussion" about what I have perceived as anti-Catholic bigotry. Take it from me, a former Protestant and anti-Catholic, I know bigotry ..... I was an anti-Catholic bigot prior to my return to the one true Church. But back to the flapping scapular for a moment ..... I have been thinking this: Wouldn't it be better to not worry if the Brown Scapular is showing? For, if the Scapular that I wear is showing, it may have a double effect. It may encourage and embolden other Catholics who are enrolled in this devotion to either continue wearing their scapular or return to wearing theirs and also to remind them of their devotional commitment to prayer. Further, it may prompt a non-Catholic to ask "What is that?" thus, opening the door for more pleasant conversations instead of me finding my self on the defensive.
Some who read this may say that it is not proper to openly display a scapular for fear that it may be a representation of overt and perhaps a false piety. But from what I have read of the brown scapular, it is meant to be an outward sign of increased and dedicated devotion to God. I don't know, maybe I am rambling on about nothing, does this make any sense to you? I suppose that for me, when being "bold" is an issue, we can look to St. Paul.
But such "boldness" comes with a price. For those who have been persecuted, the price is heavy here in this life, the reward of course is great. Because I am a sinful creature, I fear the leering and the glib remarks and criticism of non-believers. We need look no further than two such examples in the Acts of the Apostles. St. Paul is known for his "boldness" among many other things. But we have examples of Paul venturing unafraid to share the Gospel with those who opposed the message as well as the messenger.
Sometime after his conversion, Paul debated the same Hellenists that had stoned St. Stephen to death (Acts 9:28-29), the term "boldness" is a common theme with Paul and his style of preaching and sharing the Gospel. Again in Iconium, Paul and Barnabas preached and shared "the way" and met with resistance to the point of almost being stoned to death (Acts 14:1-6). I am certainly not equating the outward signs of Catholic faith to being stoned to death. At least in this Country and at this time, we have not seen this come to pass. But, can we really count on that trend to continue? Are we so sure that the persecutions that we face will not turn physical?
Even today in these modern times, your brothers and sisters of the faith are being persecuted or suffering martyrdom for even making the sign of the cross. I know, this is a very heavy topic for me to discuss in a newsletter I suppose. But, Brother Knights these are serious times and we must be serious about our faith and how we live in this world. My un-tuckable and free flapping Scapular is one example of my own personal experience. Yours is altogether different perhaps.
Your experience may be speaking up at work when one of the guys is telling a sinful joke. Or maybe in the store when you overhear another person bashing the Catholic faith. Perhaps you are a young man who is single, still in school and your friends make fun of you and tease you because you are "outwardly Catholic". Be not afraid, un-tuck your Scapular, say grace at meals in public places, answer questions politely but will "all Boldness" and don't back down spiritually. Don't compromise so as to "keep the peace" or keep from "rocking the boat". Let's pray together for the intercession of St. Paul and ask him to pray for us that the Holy Spirit will grant us the wisdom to know when to speak and when to be quiet, when to confront and when to listen. And let us ask for the grace of "boldness" that came not from Paul himself, but from the Holy Spirit.
In closing,  I am proud to announce that the Knight of the Month for August 2010 isMike Brcic and that our Family for the Month of August 2010 is the Von Beulow family. At last Month's meeting, Eric Restucccia was the winner of the book from the Grand Knight's book of the Month Guild. The book selection was written by The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary titled "The Holy Family Jesus, Mary and Joseph". I look forward to giving another book away this month at the General Meeting. I hope to see you there.

God Love you,

SK Frank Finch
Grand Knight
Council 10963
Old St. Patrick Parish
Whitmore Lake, MI