One last thought before I hit the sack to read a few more paragraphs in this month's First Things. It's 10:30... do you know where your Catholic ID is?
Sometimes it help us to step back and see ourselves as others see us. Here is a refreshing description of who Christians are.... from a second or third century apologist, trying to explain Christianity in terms a Roman would understand.
It's refreshing.... revealing.... reinvigorating.... to see what Christianity looks like to someone whose spiritual eyes are not glazed over from long familiarity.
From a letter to Diognetus (around 200) §5-6; PG 2, 1174-1175 (cf breviary)
"Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men.
Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.
And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country...
They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven (He 11:16). Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them."
Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything... A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult... To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.