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I carry it with me nearly everywhere

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

September 9, 2020

The message on the card was simple, but meaningful. It was a message from a friend who was helping me overcome a problem I was facing.

Now, months removed from when my friend initially gave me that card, I still carry it with me nearly everywhere I go. I look at that card when I’m struggling.

I’m fairly certain I’ll never forget the sentiment my friend conveyed in that card, but sentiments are fleeting. Holding the card in my hand and re-reading it affects me much more than just thinking about it. Having that tangible experience – opening the folded card, seeing my friend’s handwriting, reading my friend’s exact words – makes me relive the emotions I felt when I read the card for the first time. It reminds me of the love and care that went into writing it. It reminds me of the lesson I continue to take from it.

As I reviewed the card for what I’d call the eleventy billionth time and reflected on how important it is to me, it suddenly struck me why tangible elements are such a critical part of our Catholic faith (yes, it amazes me it took me this many years for that to sink in).

Our faith is a physical faith. Our sacraments include physical signs – water in baptism, oil in confirmation, raised hands in confession and, bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ…

We hang icons, crucifixes or other images on our walls as reminders and calls to prayer (I have an icon of St. Maximilian Kolbe on my office wall and a miniature statue of St. Frances de Sales on my desk – both are patron saints of journalists – to remind myself to pray for their intercession when I’m struggling to find the right words to include in a story or this column).

We hold rosary beads in our hands as we pray and reflect on the mysteries or as we pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet. And these are just a few examples of the many I could list.

Our faith includes many tangible elements. Why? I’m no theologian, but I believe it’s in part because we’re whole beings – body, mind and soul. It’s only appropriate that our whole beings – our bodies, our senses, our thoughts and our spirits – would be included in our worship. But I also find that these tangible things help us. They make our faith more real and more alive.

May we carry that living faith – and maybe even a few signs of it – wherever we go, much like I carry that card.

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