Some years ago, a priest that I cared for gave me a WWJD bracelet. I never put it on – not once. Often – I’d think about putting it on – but I never would. I mean it was sort of passé, you know. I’d think about things like: “Who am I to be carrying any message or example about Jesus?” or “What will people think (deep inside) if they see me with a ‘fanatical’ slogan bracelet?” or “What about the time I get caught giving an example that is decidedly un-Christ-like?” (You know – looking at a woman too long … honking at someone in anger because their driving doesn’t please me… things like that.) By and large — putting on the ‘breastplate’ of Christ means standing out. And for the early years after that gift from the priest, I didn’t mind looking holy in Church… but not where there’s a lot of business people eating lunches in a popular cafe.
Time passes. My faith walk has intensified, and I open the dresser drawer looking for something. There’s the WWJD cloth bracelet. And so, moment of grace, perhaps, and I put on the bracelet. I go about my business, even wearing it in busy places. Now I invite anyone: catch me in an occasion of sin and remind me by your questioning glance or stare. And when I visited someone who needs Communion – when my hand is extended and the bracelet is visible… it’s then that the person receiving and me – we are reminded – this is what Jesus would do. He wouldn’t be a complainer… He would bring peace wherever He went.
If in the supermarket, I’m conscious of not looking too long at the pretty young woman behind the counter. I am conscious too of the need to smile and be friendly — don’t be a religious freak, unable to smile and interact with the world.
It’s perhaps funny that putting on the breastplate brings about a change in me. I realize I’m sticking out and I want to be Christ-like to the best of my weak persona. This wearing of the WWJD went on and I finally got past it – whatever that means.
I’m now ordained a deacon, and I wear a deacon cross – a large one hanging from a brass chain in the middle of my chest. Most deacons don’t do that for whatever reason. But now I’ve come to realize that this is an invitation. An invitation for someone to comment on the cross or ask what it means. Mind you – most don’t. This is the real (i.e. secularized) world that I live in.
But once – as an example – I was at a trash dump and I came up to the window to pay the five dollar fee for dump usage. The man at the window asked me about the cross and I told him. “I’m a Catholic Deacon, in love with the Lord and His Church. This red towel across the front of the cross means that it is a sign of service to others – just as Jesus washed the feet of the apostles.’ The man made a remark about the cross and told me a bit about his faith walk. Then we were done. Point and message made.
My wife and I have identical cars. We both have two bumper stickers on them. One says: THE EUCHARIST: CHRIST’S REAL PRESENCE. The other: CATHOLIC VITAMINS: Nourish Your Faith From “A” to “Z”.
We like standing out. For Christ. For His Church. For the Sacrament of Love. For our Catholic Vitamins weekly podcast.
What about you? Interested in STANDING OUT?
Copyright 2014 Deacon Tom Fox