Hit or Miss

In which Matt thinks about wearing a cross. (preface: Matt is Catholic.)

Off and on, I’ve tried to participate in a prayer compact with my old friends Bertie and Shannon (i.e. we encourage each other to pray daily). But I always get busy and I forget to pray.

So I’ve been trying to think of someway to remind myself to pray every day. But more importantly, I’m looking for some way to keep God as a presence in my daily life.

I’m considering buying a cross to wear. I’ve never been a jewelry person — never worn chains or rings — so I imagine wearing a cross would definitely be a constant reminder.

But wearing a cross can be such a cliche thing. And I have to admit, I’ve always had a bit of a prejudice against people I see wearing crosses. It must be due to some type of associative connection in my head — I guess a lot of the people I’ve known who haven’t been accepting of my being gay have worn crosses.

I have to admit I’m a little worried about what other people would think of me if I wore a cross. I wouldn’t want people to automatically assume I was a conservative Christian for wearing one. I worry that it would send a message to those students I come in contact with who may be Agnostic or Atheist and who would then become just as prejudiced against me as I often am against people who wear crosses.

And then there’s the whole issue of shopping for a cross. We don’t have a Catholic supply store in town, just a Protestant one. You know the kind of shop. Lots of bunny rabbits and flowers in the window. Again, I have a prejudice against those kinds of places, assuming that I wouldn’t be welcome there if the owners knew I was gay.

But all this is really beside the point. I need something in my life to remind me of God’s presence. And I’d much rather wear a cross than a WWJD bracelet.

5 responses so far (Respond)

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(Preface: Vis10n is Mormon)

Bully for you. I don’t personally wear a cross, but a renewed desire to live one’s religion is laudable. As for the desire to pray each day, might I suggest a few ideas: Pray at the same time EVERY day. For example, pray over your breakfast, or just as you get out of bed. Also, don’t change the time, or EVER give yourself a day off… taking leave from a daily routine just teaches how to break promises you’ve made to yourself.

Another idea: if you choose to pray in the evening, keep your eyes open during the day for things you’d like to bring up (the dog on the interstate, the pandhandler down town, your friend Sarah…). This will improve the quality of your prayers considerably. Remember: dialogue, not monologue… silence is a fine seasoning to an otherwise good prayer.

Good luck!

Vis10n | 18 Sep 2000
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(Preface: Chris is Protestant.) Sounds like a good goal with realistic concerns. I have the same struggle all the time about how to balance my own sense of faith (and outward displays of that faith) with the inevitable connections to self-righteous gasbags who seem to get all the attention. One source of religious jewelry you might want to check out: the James Avery company. They don’t have a web site that I know of, but you can call and request a catalog of their religious jewelry at 800-283-6050. They’ve got some pretty classy stuff if you’re looking for a cross (or a ring or a dove symbol or…), more than just the crosses you can find everywhere.
Or, you can do like I did and just get a semi-private cross tattoo. 🙂

Chris | 18 Sep 2000
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I spent about two years wearing a yarmulke full time for similar reasons to what you’re dealing with in this cross situation. I found that I had a harder time being “out” as a religious Jew than I did as a homosexual, and that even my closest friends were more judgmental about religion than sexuality. (Then again, I was in Boston, where there people are probably more used to dealing with gays – or at least liberals – than religious people…)

Anyway, it’s a different situation – more people wear crosses than yarmulkes, and a cross around your neck is far subtler. (Although I suppose a Catholic cross-with-a-body-on-it may stick out in Protestant country more noticably than I might otherwise imagine… no?) In any event, I applaud you, but don’t think that once you make the decision, your struggle will be over. Having a visible reminder just gives you one more thing to be paranoid about how others view you and one more stimulus for your Catholic guilt gland.

(Gosh, why do I sound so bitter? I’m not really…)

David | 20 Sep 2000
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I’m Catholic and I decided to begin wearing a cross again when I was 29. I haven’t always been the most diligent Mass-goer but I do pray regularly, the way other people meditate. Prayer doesn’t have to be kneeling by the side of the bed, eyes closed, as we were taught as kids nor does it have to be the Rosary. I often find myself seeing something like a beautiful sunset or a child crying and immediately I whisper a prayer to myself. I often do a ‘count my blessings’ type prayer as I’m sitting on the bus. I guess I have just incoporated prayer into part of my life. It’s become an instinctive reaction. I have started going to Mass again but I’m struggling with going to Confession. I still have ‘issues’ with Catholicism that I can’t overcome. But having faith is an important part of my life. Wearing the cross has become a bit of a fashion statement in this country – Posh Spice, Elizabeth Hurley etc but I have a lovely silver celtic cross that is very understated and subtle and dare I say, quite trendy. Good luck!

Miriam | 22 Sep 2000
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(I am gay and a Catholic) Rather than wear a cross, why not wear a medal of some sort? Or, assuming you can find one – most priests, I imagine, should be able to get one – how about a (metal) scapular? Not only are they suitably Catholic in appearance, but by wearing one gains a number of indulgences and privileges.
Incidentally, I have found that all Protestant shops I have visited are not welcoming towards Catholics – try asking for a statue of the Virgin Mary in one sometime. I shudder to think how they would react towards a gay Catholic.

Simon | 22 Sep 2000