I had a thought the other day... Am I a devout Catholic? Will my child refer to her parents as such? What makes one devout? Who decides when the requirements are met to be considered devout?
I have often heard of others described as devout Catholics, but never considered it as a goal. It is generally said in recollection, as in, "My grandmother was a devout Catholic."
I have said, more than once in the last six months, that my husband and I are "loyal to the magisterium" and that we know and practice church teachings. I didn't think much of it at the time because of the nature of the conversation was directly related to a church teaching.
We take part in and enjoy Catholic Radio, our twitter and facebook pages have a high number of Catholic friends and followers. We both belong to forums and groups where evangelizing and church teaching are main topics. Dustin receives communion on the tongue. I have been discerning the practice of veiling.
All of these things are small, if you take them individually, but as a whole, what do they say about my faith. What does it say about my family.
While talking to a friend, I mentioned my desire to visit the shrine at Mount St. Mary's in Maryland. She didn't know what I was talking about... At that moment it occurred to me I might be one of "those" Catholics. One of those faithful, practicing, church-loving, devout Catholics.
According to dictionary.com, devout is an adjective with 3 meanings.
1. devoted to divine worship or service; pious; religious: a devout Catholic.
2. expressing devotion or piety: devout prayer.
3. earnest or sincere; hearty: He had a devout allegiance to the political regime.
I was surprised to find that there were no negative definitions at urbandictionary.com as this website often has vulgar and negative user definition submissions.
1) Very/Deeply religious.
2) Devoted to a particular personal interest or cause, basically devoted to anything.
3) Deeply and sincerely felt or meant.
I asked around and what some of my catholic friends had to say:
-I equate "devout" with "desire" - as in, a devout Catholic desires to BE Catholic; desires to live the Catholic faith out in daily life; desires to be in line with Church teaching; desires to be authentic; desires to be holy... etc. In this sense, one can be devout and struggle but it is the desire that gives meaning to the struggle.
-I consider myself "devout" because I am fully in line with the magisterium; I know what the Church teaches and actually believe it... I try to keep the commandments, etc
-I've always thought devout was just an extra term to say: "I like my faith and practice it" as opposed to just "I grew up Catholic" or "I'm of the Catholic faith but don't practice/believe it/pay attention to it."
-On a really, really basic level: devout Catholics know what the Church teaches and actually live it out, as opposed to not giving a damn what the Church teaches and still calling themselves Catholic. I'd say it boils down to actually at least trying to live out what the Church teaches (if that makes sense...we all fall short, but we keep trying!)
Like I said earlier, I did not imagine that a devotion to my faith was something that I would use to measure my self. I did not imagine that I would be so in love with my God that I would want to embrace His church in such a way that I would be labeled as anything other than a Christian. I did not know I would be happy to be considered such a thing as a devout Catholic.
What about the negatives?
Perception... Is being devout the same to someone who does not believe the same things about religion as I do, what about 'keeping up appearances' and wanting to blend in with the crowd?
Some more thoughts from friends:-Non-Catholics probably think that devout Catholics are the super judge-y Catholics, holier-than-thou, 10 zillion kids type Catholics!
-I think outsiders see devout Catholics as either Mother Angelica types (if she was humorless) or Christmas & Easter Catholics, I think many people think Catholics don't have to do anything & can just go to confession
I pray that being a devoutly religious person (Catholic or not) continues to be a positive thing.
Don't get me wrong, here. My halo gets dusty from time to time. Everyone has room to grow. There are things I struggle with. My biggest problem is that I am not a huge fan of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I do it, though, because it is actually a gift from the Lord to hear that my sins are forgiven. Click for a short video and some info about Confession.
I suppose I have a choice to make here. Do I keep living my faith quietly, or do I listed to what Jesus is telling me and "Go, make disciples of all people" ...
The thing is, even if I stopped listening to The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM, even if I unfriended and unfollowed all my social media contacts, even if I tried to stop going to church every week... I would still be devoted to the Lord. I would still be devoted to Jesus. I would still have affection for Mary. I would still ask St. Anthony to help me find my keys. I would still. I am devout.
What an incredible blessing the Lord has given me.