The Closet Christian
But I realized that this was praying on the sly, as it were - not wishing other passengers to notice that I was talking to God.
One reason for this was that I didn’t want my fear of flying to be obvious. But something more sinister was going on: I was embarrassed to be seen praying.
Was I unwilling to let the public know that I was a Christian?
That thought upset me. A lot.
So I decided to make the Sign of the Cross as the plane was taking off (when I start to pray) and when the plane landed (after my thank-you-God-for-the-safe-flight prayer).
But - it would mean acknowledging Christ in public. Gasp!!
You expect priests to be inured to the stares and ridicule of people around them, but it was asking a lot from a member of the laity, who prefers to remain anonymous when traveling, and indeed in general.
Wait a Minute: Doesn't Christ Mention This Topic Somewhere?
Then I remembered the words of Scripture:
"I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God's angels.” Luke 12:8 New Living Translation (©2007)
"But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” Luke 12:9 New Living Translation (©2007)
There was no pretending I didn't understand the import of those words.
(Wo)manning Up - For Real, This Time
Just how humiliating would it really be to make the Sign of the Cross in public? Come on, I wasn’t being called to do something truly scary, like stand up and ask the passengers to join me in prayer!
Was I too weak to give one, small - yet significant - public acknowledgement of Christ?
I felt embarrassed about feeling embarrassed, and hoped God would forgive my timidity. If I called myself a Christian, and a Catholic, I had to be prepared to evangelize even in this tiny way. If Christ died on the Cross for me – in a very public humiliation – surely I could manage this minor sacrifice in return?
I am glad to say that as soon as we began taxiing on the runway, I made a big – not furtive – Sign of the Cross and asked God to keep all of us safe. When we landed I did the same, and proceeded to repeat the process for each of my successive three flights.
There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Baby steps..
God - One
Satan - A Big Goose Egg