How a Woman on Her Bike Made Me Think Twice

How a Woman on Her Bike Made Me Think Twice April 8, 2013

When I’m at the gym, I often opt out of watching TV and decide instead to pray the rosary. This works well because I am focused, I can’t wander off to do something else, and I can unite my intense suffering to that of Christ. (Just kidding!) One thing that I don’t do, however, is make the Sign of the Cross, or at least a Sign of the Cross that anyone in the gym would recognize as such. It’s more like a quick swiping movement across my forehead and torso, which someone could easily mistake for me wiping the sweat off of my brow. I think that I started this because I didn’t want to offend anyone in the gym, or maybe because I was embarrassed for people to know that I was praying while on the treadmill. In any case, it has become a habit and I haven’t thought much about the way that I begin and end my Rosary…

…Until now. Today, as I was driving out of our neighborhood, I saw a woman biking who clearly made the Sign of the Cross – forehead, belly button, shoulder, shoulder. I was SO ENCOURAGED to see someone else make such a simple display of our Catholic faith. This woman is praying, I thought to myself. She is a woman of faith, just like me, and she isn’t ashamed to show it. Maybe she even faces some of the same daily struggles as I do.  Something so simple meant so much with me. I felt an instant solidarity with her, and I don’t even know her name.

Immediately, I thought of my sloppy Sign of the Cross at the gym, and gave myself a little internal lecture for my silliness all of these years. Why do I think that someone would be offended to know that I am praying? Where did that idea even come from? I live in Texas, for goodness sake! Most people, no matter what their religious background, would probably be encouraged to know that others take their faith seriously enough to make time for prayer! It got me to thinking about the other outward signs of faith that I choose to make or not to make throughout my day, and how those choices impact those in my community. When our family is out for a meal, for example, we do always make the Sign of the Cross and say grace before we eat, not in a showy way but certainly not quietly either. There are other examples that I cannot think of right now, but I am going to continue to reflect on this question during the Easter season. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section!

A blessed Monday morning to all of you. Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, pray for us!

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  • Kellie “Red”

    I read this from the Pope’s Homily on Saturday and I think it fits with what you wrote.

    “A humble man works in the curia of Buenos Aires. He has worked there for 30 years, he is the father of eight children. Before he goes out, before going out to do the things that he must do, he always says, ‘Jesus!’ And I once asked him, ‘Why do you always say’ Jesus ‘?’ ‘When I say’ Jesus ‘- this humble man told me – I feel strong, I feel I can work, and I know that He is with me, that He keeps me safe.’”

    The pope continued: “This man never studied theology, he only has the grace of baptism and the power of the Spirit. And this testimony did me a lot of good too, because it reminds us that in this world that offers us so many saviors, it is only the name of Jesus that saves.”

    Pope Francis went on to say that “in order to solve their problems many people resort to fortune tellers and tarot cards. But only Jesus saves and we must bear witness to this! He is the only one.”

  • Mary Alice

    I am sometimes uplifted when someone is wearing a medal – especially a nurse or caretaker, it can be nice to know that they are Catholic, and it can also serve as a reminder to pray.