A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Friday, June 09, 2006

On Being "Half-Catholic"


Last week I just completed my marathon of the magnificent miniseries Brideshead Revisited and during the course of the eleven-hour series, I heard one of the characters use the term "half-Catholic." Upon ruminating on this, I decided that the term could be used to describe myself....I'm too Catholic to be accepted by the mores of our secular society, but somehow despite my sincerest efforts, I'm not seen as "Catholic enough" to be accepted by many other Catholics. Thus, not being accepted by either end of society, I wind up being isolated somewhere in limbo.

I'm sure that this phenomenon happens to many Catholics who are completely faithful to the Church, but are still excluded by their communities. I tend to think that Francis and Clare were individuals who experienced this. Indeed, both Saints found that they could no longer accept the mores of their societies. However, at the same time, they didn't exactly "fit in" with their contemporaneous religious communities. For instance, even though she lived with Benedictine nuns for a time, St. Clare realized that this way of life simply was not for her. Likewise, when presented with the option of becoming a priest, Francis recognized his own unworthiness. Instead, both Saints used creative fidelity to forge their own way of following Christ. However, their initial rejection by their society must have been very frustrating for them at first...and perhaps they can comfort me and all of the rest of us who find that we are being similarly overlooked.

One thing that helped me in dealing with these feelings is an excerpt from my current reading project, St. Therese's Story of a Soul:

I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.- St. Therese of Lisieux

5 Comments:

Blogger friar minor said...

I know what you mean, Chiara. Nevertheless, we have to try not to take seriously anyone who accuses us of being "half-catholic," because we're all guilty. Everyone has some blind spots and sins. If they think they don't, well, what need do they have of Jesus Christ?

12:49 PM  
Blogger boinky said...

It is pride to expect to be a perfect Caholic.
The trick is to love God and neighbor, to do the duties of our daily life, to pray, and to leave a little room for God's grace.

9:55 PM  
Blogger forget me not said...

It is so comforting for me to read this post, I feel exactly the same way. I'm out in limbo too and I was starting to feel a little lonely! Glad I found you Chiara!

9:15 AM  
Anonymous brother lesser said...

Have no fear of being thought insignificant or unbalanced, but preach repentance with courage and simplicity. Have faith in the Lord, who has overcome the world. His Spirit speaks in you and through you, calling men and women to turn to him and observe his precepts. You will encounter some who are faithful, meek, and well disposed; they will joyfully receive you and your words. But there will be more who are skeptical, proud, and blasphemous, and who will insult you and resist your message. Prepare yourselves, therefore, to bear everything with patience and humility.

Legend of the Three Companions

12:01 PM  
Anonymous chrisdicksontor said...

I love what Friar Minor has to say. Father John Catoir addresses this specifically in his writings. All of us are where you are at different times in our lives and to varying degrees, but we are not to become anxious about it. It is merely another "right of passage" we must all endure to get to that finish line...

3:49 PM  

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