People are often extremely surprised to find out how religious I am, and I never know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult. I suppose in this day and age those of us who are religiously observant are somewhat rare in a sampling of my American generation, so maybe the surprise isn’t loaded at all. Maybe it’s just surprise.
I don’t carry a Bible around with me, I don’t dangle my rosary beads, I don’t make it a point to pray where people can see me (I’m pretty sure Jesus said not to do that, anyway). I use my breviary in private and keep it under my bed. That’s my practice, just as others have the practice of toting theirs around. Neither is right or wrong.
There’s a certain “look” that goes with stereotypical religion – or perhaps a certain affect, and it’s one that doesn’t suit me: quiet, deferential, inoffensive. I don’t care for the type of religion that involves preciousness or prissiness. I guess I don’t look the part.
In the end, my faith life is not about how I look to other people, but how other people look to me. It’s a way of looking at the world and seeing sanctity, seeing God’s work and attempting to delight in it as God does. The lens I see the world through is a sacramental one.
Thus everything is holy, and every object becomes one that can lead us deeper into grace. Rosaries to roses, breviaries to baseball cards – all can lead us into prayer, though some do so in a special way.
I’m trying every day to see the grace in all things. I hope this changes my actions so that Christ’s light glows through me. But if it doesn’t, I won’t carry around the trappings in an attempt to make up for it.