Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The irony of attraction

I recall my husband one time related to me a comment from our dear friend Nazareth Priest (way before our blogging days). It was regarding some "Cool to be Catholic" t-shirts that he had seen. He said, "It's not cool to be Catholic. It's darned hard." It struck me as funny and deeply insightful. We who love the Catholic Church and seek to follow Christ in our everyday lives know the constant battle with our own sinfulness and with the culture that continues to belittle us for trying.

I think the "Cool to be Catholic" t-shirts were invented to attract young people. I don't know how effective these are. Even if young people don't see through the veiled attempt of adults to manipulate them through the "bandwagon" and end up buying into the message that being Catholic is cool, aren't we setting them up for a huge reality check? Many times they aren't going to be "cool" or attractive to their peers. Is being "cool" what we're in this for?  Pope Benedict doesn't think so.
"In my view, a Church which seeks above all to be attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for herself, she does not work to increase her numbers and her power. The Church is at the service of Another. She serves not herself, not to become strong; rather, she serves to make the announcement of Jesus Christ more accessible: the great truths, the great powers of love and reconciliation which appeared in Him and which always come from the presence of Jesus Christ." -Pope Benedict XVI, September 2010.
In the ironic world of attraction, we can spot those who are trying too hard to get noticed. They are desperate for attention, unsure about who they are and where they are going. In seeking to be attractive above all else, the subject creates a superficial facade that repels all who seek truth. Pope Benedict's view of how the Church should conduct Herself is not unlike the advice we parents would give to our teenage children...be who God created you to be. Be holy, and be confident that the light of Christ will attract those who really appreciate who you are.

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