The greatest commandment
Christ said that the greatest commandment is, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.” (Matthew 22:36) One of the ways we express our love for anyone or anything is with public displays of affection.
Examples of Catholic public displays of affection
As Catholics, our church’s tradition has been blessed with several ways for others to know we are disciples of Christ. The crucifix, the image of the suffering Christ, is decidedly Catholic. Hanging it in our home or in our office is a public display of affection for God. Certainly our honoring of Mary, the Mother of God, in our prayer life, our jewelry and even for some of us, body art, is a visible sign of our discipleship in Christ. In ecumenical groups, others know that we are Catholic Christians because we visibly remind ourselves, and others, of our common baptism through the sign of the cross.
We have greetings that are in common – “The Lord be with you – And also with you.” We can go almost anywhere in the world and know that we are among fellow Catholics through our public displays of affection for God and his only son, Jesus Christ.
Don’t be afraid, be proud
I submit to you that Catholics have built into our religious culture a strong desire to let everyone know that we are disciples of Christ. But at times, we suppress that part of our religious culture. And this is a shame. It is the shared traditions that I described above that invite us to love one another.
How many of us say grace regularly at home yet, feel self-conscience about praying at a restaurant? And if we pray, do we omit a visible sign of the cross for fear of drawing attention to ourselves? If so, why?
We are taught by polite society that public displays of affection are at times inappropriate. But, I submit to you that a public display of affection for our God and for our fellow Christians is always appropriate!
How else will people know that we are disciples of Christ! They will know us by our love and affection for God!