Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What do you wear?

I was pulling the clasp of my "Five-Way Medal" around to the back of my neck just now. When I was little, we always made a wish when the clasp of a chain worked its way around to the front. Now I pray a little prayer.

I didn't choose the five-way because I had a special devotion to the group represented, particularly: it was a cross shape, I wanted something to make me mindful and to signal my faith, a little. I didn't like the crucifixes in the display case of the place I was shopping at, but I think I'd prefer one when I see a beautiful small one that doesn't cost a fortune.

So, what do you wear? A crucifix? A Miraculous Medal? A Brown Scapular? Nothing, on principle? Everything, on principle? How long have you worn whatever you're wearing?

Does it "work?" I mean, does it make you mindful of the glory of God, of the Communion of Saints, of the Church visible and invisible?

Inquiring minds want to know, but they have to go back to work.


Julie D. said...

Ummm, what if it's nothing just because it never crosses my mind one way or t'other? :-D

Justin said...

A few years ago I shedded both my wristwatch and a small African necklace my sister had given me. The necklace helped me stay spiritually connected with my sister, therefore my family, therefore the communion of saints, in a world where I find myself so alone so often. But these few years ago, something - I forget what - threw me into an intense pursuit of simplicity. I'm still on that path.

I remember a friend telling me once that when he enters deep into prayer, he tries to strip himself entirely of the labels that surround him, and stand naked before God. I guess I see my attempts as something similar to that.

I've lately been thinking about branding myself with a simple crucifix necklace of some sort. I guess what I fear is habit without intention.

Anonymous said...

Several medals have come my way over my 22 years as a Roman Catholic, but I never seem to have gotten into wearing any. I'm plain; even my wedding band is a simple gold circle.

Where my saints go marching in is 'round my desk and in my office, where reminders of a whole choir of them seem to have assembled. They remind me of all you said.

alicia said...

I wear a small gold celtic cross that is identical to the one my husband gave me as a wedding present (the original wore through its clasp and fell off in the mall and I was never able to reclaim it). I also wear a Miraculous medal around my neck that John gave me for Christmas a few years ago. Those two items never leave my neck. Because of my profession, I can't wear rings full time and actually lost my wedding ring (I was given a replacement for Christmas this year but haven't had it blessed yet).
I have my cursillo crucifix that I put on in the morning and hang up at night. I wear it under my clothing when at work as it is large and there is a policy about wearing large religious symbols (which also keeps the wiccans etc from advertising so I don't have an issue).
I took my large collection of religious medals and put them on a bracelet (charm style) but I am more likely to put it in my pocket than on my wrist.
I also feel naked unless I have a rosary in my pocket - usually snuggled up against my pager!

Therese Z said...

These are all so fascinating! Julie, if it hasn't crossed your mind, then that's a good thing for you. Although I wonder if you won't be presented with something as a gift. Justin, good words: "branding" yourself has two connotations: the idea of a brand identity and branding yourself with the sign of your Owner. "Habit without intention" is also useful to ponder. Patricia, cool imagery, I'd love to see your desk! What a witness! Alicia, how nice to have a "special" cross, the Cursillo one, and wearing it under your clothes is a good witness too, at least to yourself ("no matter what the world thinks, I'm who I am.")

Now I'm looking at everyone with this subject in mind. At Mass, it seems that nearly every neck I can see bent, men and women, have a chain or a cord showing at the back, indicating a medal or scapular in there somewhere.

I also thought about the big ugly (sorry) wooden crosses my parish requires the Eucharistic Ministers to wear during their altar service. Some people have provided themselves with a more attractive one, and I wonder why it seems necessary.....

Anonymous said...

My Celtic cross also wore through the top over the years. I went a few years without wearing anything. I have been wearing the Cursillo cross almost continually for nearly two years. It reminds me of the promise of the Cursillo that Christ is counting on me. (And I on him)

I have had a rosary ring in my pocket for years. In part it serves to reminder me of the experiences of a friend from Marriage Encounter years ago. He was a petroleum engineer and worked for Unocal. He had spent time in Saudi Arabia for work. They were "rotated there" every few years for at least 9 months.

They were prohibited from having anything that was overtly Christian. No Bible, no prayer book, no crucifix/cross. If you were caught with those items you were immediately and forcibly deported (and fired for not following company policy) The ring was the only thing he could have with him. It was very subtle.

I praise God that even in a secular media environment (NPR station) I can still wear the cross(actually crucifix as it has an embossed corpus) without comment or restriction.

Like Alicia, it stays inside my shirt at work. We both have to take rings off - but for different reasons. In my case it is "transmitter safety"

John Huntley

TS said...

I'm not one for wearing things around my neck, so I try to carry a scapular. It's of the Archangel Gabriel and on the back is a cross with the words "Conquer by this" which is a neat message if u think about it. Conquer by Christ, of course, or you could say conquer by weakness, in a way, since the cross is a depiction of Christ crucified, not Christ risen.

MTR said...

I wear a Jesus tattoo... ;-)

Therese Z said...

MTR, I thought about you, my tattooed friend, and wondered if you'd comment. That's a statement of faith, and since it is so permanent, never having to put on or taken off, do you forget about it, or does it make YOU mindful of your true life in Christ?



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