Continuing my comments yesterday evening, it does seem to me that there are a variety of other things which most of us can do at least some of the time to incite other people to ask us questions which offer us an opportunity to witness to God’s love, and to our Faith.
Surprisingly enough, though, I’m not going to suggest wearing a crucifix around the neck; simply because so many people seem to wear them to whom they are of no significance beyond that of jewellery . . . as a result of which few people seem to ask questions about them anyway.
Lapel badges, on the other hand, tend to attract attention, and provoke questions . . . I almost invariably wear a small Dominican shield, and the number of people, both inside and outside the Church, who have asked what it represents is considerable : and of course every question offers the opportunity to give some short but appropriately interesting response which will, with luck, excite continuing interest in the questioner.
I know that there are also badges bearing the Sacred Heart, the Monstrance, Our Lady, and many other self-evidently religious symbols; and I’m sure that they must attract the same sort of interest, if not more so (Indeed, my Blackfriars cufflinks have even worked as a trigger for interest - and thus explanation !).
Similarly – although I appreciate that this only applies to men – if you wear a hat, do always remember to take it off whenever you pass a Church – or even a Crucifix or other overtly religious symbol; and of course passing a priest or religious in the street also justifies it – because removing one’s hat in those circumstances excites remark ... if only because your willingness to do this demonstrates how important your Faith is to you; which is, in turn, a matter of interest to many. (I have noticed in recent years, incidentally, that the number of men who remove their hats as an hearse passes them has dropped; which if nothing else seems a matter of good manners, but which is also, of course, a symbol of religious conviction.)
I appreciate that none of this is major; but I believe that it all helps a little, if only because it slowly – very slowly – encourages people to recognize that the Faith is still alive and well, and meaningful . . . all of which encourages people to take an interest in it, and hopefully eventually to find their way towards it : which is exactly what the Holy Father had in mind, as far as I can see.