When people say they’re different, it’s usually obvious in some way. What they wear, how they act, the things they do, etc.
Catholics say they’re Catholics, which means they’re saying they’re not non-Catholics, which means they’re saying they’re different. Do we really act like it, though?
The Church says its four marks are “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” These are four ways the Church knows itself and distinguishes itself as distinct. I think we Catholics need the same distinctiveness in our lives. I’m thinking practically about how we can recognize members of our tribe in daily life. Recognizing other members of the tribe is necessary if the tribe expects to win its battles, and we all like to win our battles.
Even the basic language we’ve used for so long has been wiped out—things like “Anno Domini” replaced with the academically acrobatic “Common Era” signifier. In researching this stuff I came across this neat once-upon-a-time language:
[In] Article VII of the U.S. Constitution: “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth.”
“Anno Domini” just means “Year of our Lord”, but I wonder what effect it might have after a few years (or even months) if Catholics renewed the practice of thinking and speaking about the Creator in thinking about time.
Imagine Catholics suddenly signing their names with some signifier of living in the “Year of our Lord” or if people used some similar language in greeting or leaving one another. Small things like this can seem silly, and they are small things. But more often than we admit it’s the small things that have the greatest impact.
We live in an inclusive era, and the point is that inclusiveness is necessary because distinct and different attitudes, lifestyles, politics, beliefs, etc. exist. If we’re going to be a part of an inclusive time, we’ve got to do our part by keeping or renewing our the things that make us different and distinct.
Thinking out loud.