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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Being little things

Last Friday our department had a day out at Changi Village Hotel. Lunch and dinner were buffet but since it was a Friday, I decided not to have the chicken and beef dishes that were available. Was rather hard actually and I was thinking if there was any other sacrifice I could do instead...but I guess it's when you deny yourself something when you really want it that it is actually a sacrifice.

That's not the point of this post though.

When I glanced across the table I saw Angie, a Catholic colleague, explaining to a Buddhist colleague why she wasn't having any meat dishes as well. That was encouraging!

But what I want to share is Linda, my Buddhist colleague's response:
"Oh I forgot you were Catholic"

It's when you work among non-Catholics that you realise that Catholicism is truly counter-cultural. We do some things differently...and people notice it.

Not eating meat on Fridays would seem something insignificant or ritualistic to a non-Catholic but it carries a lot of meaning for us, and it is also one thing that identifies us.

Remember how McDonalds had to introduce its Fillet-O-Fish because sales fell every Friday thanks to the Catholics who didn't visit its outlets because they abstained from meat? A huge fast-food company changed its menu just because Catholics quietly lived their faith.

Another colleague once asked me "Because you're a Catholic, you can't divorce or use contraception right?"
That's another thing that defines us...

Young minds through the ages have always looked to be counter-cultural, to be revolutionary. That's why Marxism used to be so popular on university campuses.
And one way they express this radicalism is by disobedience, disrespect towards authority...
Well...disobedience is not really radical anymore is it? It's pretty much the culture in many parts of the world.

Goodness, purity, obedience, loyalty, fidelity, respect...these are countercultural today.

It's Catholics who live these that make observers say "Oh they're Catholic...they do things differently"

And maybe in time they'll realise that the way we do things is in fact very beautiful.

"Whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things."
Philippians 4:8

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