When I began this blog in the spring of 2007 I thought it would be simple and small and filled with pictures of my kids and stories from our lives. I thought it would be read by people who knew us personally. But then one day a stranger, a woman from the Pacific Northwest, emailed me and said she enjoyed my blog and was grateful for it because I was the only Catholic she knew.
With that email came a challenge in my heart that I needed to catechize, evangelize, and most importantly to be the kind of Catholic that Christ would be happy to have represent Him. I saw that in wanting to be authentic online I needed to be authentic in real life and I have tried very, very hard to be the type of Christian who can say, "Be holy as I am holy" and not have a line of people wanting to sucker punch me.
I have tried very hard - and I am still working on this! Believe me! - to represent Christ and the Catholic Church as I believe them to be: loving, forgiving, joyful, hopeful, peaceful, engaging, fun, compassionate, just, kind, generous, open to life, pro-woman, pro-family, pro-life. This is difficult because many of those adjectives I would not use to describe myself and growing in virtue is tough. But I still put myself out there - online and in my parish and community, as a representative of the Catholic Church, hoping that people will in the very least appreciate that I'm trying.
And then someone I love posted this picture of Facebook.
Now, a couple of things about this image. First, Westboro Baptists do horrible, horrible things in the name of Christ and they are wrong. But notice how the image representing Catholicism isn't of anyone doing anything ugly or mean - it's just the pope, tugging on his vestments. You might as well - in fact you should! - take his picture out and put mine there. Not because I hate people who are gay (because I don't!) or would ever call them 'fags' (but I'd like to say something to people who do!) or tell them God hates them (because He does not!) or that they're going to Hell (maybe we're all going to Hell in a hand basket). Lord have mercy!
No, that should be my picture because if I am the only person you know who is Catholic - who is actually living out the Faith as handed down by the Apostles and held up by the Magesterium - then I must be doing a pretty piss poor job if you think Catholics and the WBB folks belong on the same meme.
It's frustrating and discouraging to feel like the one thing I am trying my hardest to do isn't working. And when I first thought about it I just wanted to give up. But I don't think I will. Because I think another quality of the Church is that She doesn't give up on the mission Christ has given Her. My mission may be a very small, wee bitty bit of Hers, but I think it still matters to God that I do it, even if the only person who ever cared was that woman from the Pacific Northwest.