Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What are they thinking?

Growing up as a Catholic, especially one that lived where it was common to be a Catholic, there are certain things that I always just took for granted. Having a statue of Mary in the garden, saying the rosary, and religious photos around the house.

Living in Virginia as a Catholic we are definitely in the minority. I never feel questioned about my religion or really called to defend it, but I would if I had to. Instead I silently wonder what the non-Catholic people who come to my house think when they see Mary in the garden or the large photo of Padre Pio on my kitchen wall. Or when Jacob tells his friends who call at 3:30 we didn't answer the phone because we were in the middle of saying the rosary.
At mass this past weekend we honored the Blessed Mother with a May crowning celebration. It passed through my thoughts, as I sat in the pew, "What would those non-Catholics be thinking of this ritual?" From an outsiders perspective I can see why they may say things like, "Those Catholics worship idols." or "They worship a cookie." But, I know the true reasons behind what we do, so in some respects I wish they would ask me. So I could be given the opportunity to defend my faith, and maybe help them understand a little better.

Maybe I will just be thankful I don't have to defend my faith or religion in this country. Or, at least for now...


  1. I am not catholic. I am a christian, so I know we have much in common (the most important parts, anyway!). But I know exactly what you are saying. I have found that my faith is never as strong, my logic never as sharp and my understanding never as great as when I am challenged and forced to defend what I believe. Perhaps the call to evangelize is two-fold - to bring new converts into the faith, but also to keep us in excellent form? So, why do you crown Mary?

  2. She is the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and therefore crowned such. The reason we do it to a statue has no more meaning than putting a favorite photo into a gold frame, or placing flowers at a grave site. A person doesn't exist in a photo or still alive in the grave, nor is Mary alive in the statue. It is just symbolic. Thanks for asking.

  3. I love it, too when people ask why we do things a certain way. Growing up in the south, and also now living in Virginia, I have definitely experienced what I call "the look". Maybe you know it- it's the one you get when someone asks what church you go to and you tell them "St.--" It's usually a deer-in-the-headlights look as though it surprises them that I'm Catholic. I love Ash Wednesday, though- I get asked all day long what the ashes are for and it's a great time to share my faith.

  4. That last comment is funny. I guess because most of the US considers itself "christian" I don't know what that is like. Actually, we spent some time in Austria where catholisism (sp?) is the national religion, so I got that there. I understand the symbolism thing. I guess what intrigues me is the "queen of heaven and earth" part. I have never understood that part. Is there a scripture or a biblical reference that explains that?

  5. The explanation to why we refer to Mary as the Queen of Heaven and Earth is quite lengthy. If you don't mind I'm going to use my answer as a blog post for tomorrow!! Again, thank you for asking such good questions.

  6. I look forward to it, too!

    And thank you, WoodlandChocolate, for ASKING and not just rolling your eyes or condemning Catholics for something you don't understand understand about us. We may never see eye-to-eye, but being asked in sincerity is such a refreshing thing!