Portable, Pocket-Sized, and Small Items for Discreetness
The First Amendment protects our freedom to practice our religion. Yet sadly, the government of late has made steps to discourage the public practice of faith. The word "God" or anything religious in nature is being removed from civic property (e.g., the recent issues concerning the Pledge of Allegiance and the display of the Ten Commandments at US Courthouses). It is frowned upon and a cause of controversy for one to exercise their religion openly at work or in a place shared with the general public: the "separation of church and state" taken to literal extremes.
There are many Bible verses and quotations from the Church's great minds that support both an external, almost brazen expression of our Catholicism despite persecution: the example of Christ and His many courageous martyrs, for instance, should be a point of inspiration and aspiration for those who will face chastisement and condemnation (and even death) for publicly practicing their beliefs. On the other hand, Christ did also teach a more internalized, secret form of spirituality, as heard in His
Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18): that we should do things not for others to notice, not to announce our faith, but for God's eyes only.
What it amounts to can be summed up by Ecclesiastes: that there is a time to stand up and identify oneself as a Catholic--and, there is a time to live it quietly within the heart. God will know the true intention behind the act. So for those times when we need to be a little more discreet about our Catholicism, here are some items that will help transform us into "spiritual ninjas."
Bringing out the standard five-decade Rosary beads to pray the Rosary on the bus during a morning commute or lunch break may be ostentatious--besides, we may own a Rosary that is expensive or priceless, a family heirloom or item of sentimental value perhaps, that we would rather not carry with us daily. So here are some affordable alternatives to aid us in this powerful Marian Devotion.
Chaplet Rosary or Finger Rosary
Most of these are quality items that can be obtained cheaply. Chaplets and Finger Rosaries usually have a crucifix or cross and one decade of beads. They can fit in the hand and are easily portable in a pocket or purse, and can be brought out and used concealed in the palm and fingers. (The Irish Penal Rosary, pictured below, is a single-decade Rosary used in Ireland when it was illegal to practice Catholicism; a great, symbolic item for those persecuted for their faith.)
Another way to count your decades is to get the Sterling Silver Rosary Ring; this item doubles as a classy piece of jewelry that can be worn as a reminder to pray, as well as a means of keeping track of prayers. The Gold Rosary Coin is a durable token that can easily be carried and hidden. The modern age has also given us another option: purchase and upload the Rosary on CD to listen to the Rosary on an iPod or mp3 player.
Pocket-Sized Bibles and Prayer Books,
The Bible on CD
We have several Bibles and Prayer Books one can easily carry in a pocket, bag, backpack, briefcase, or purse. Having these resources on one's person helps promote healthy and devout Christian living as the Word of God is a readily accessible reference when encountering life's challenges. These unencumbering items carry an immeasurable wealth of wisdom and spiritual comfort and aid. A great way to familiarize oneself with Sacred Scripture is to play it on CD in one's car on the daily commute or long trips, or, upload it to an iPod or mp3 player.