Editor's note: Today, we are very happy to welcome Sarah Blake to our family of contributors. Sarah is a Philosophy and Christianity & Culture student at the University of Toronto and active pro-life advocate. Having met this amazing young woman and heard her speak at a recent conference, I'm looking forward to all that we will learn from Sarah! LMH

 Twerking. Nude selfies. Abortion. These are the products of our culture. And if you feel compelled to bang your head against the wall every time you hear about them, then you are not alone. Your Catholic convictions distinguish you from the mainstream, and it can be pretty scary to be different. But there is no way to divorce being different from being Catholic. Remember, Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” When you entered the Church, you identified yourself with something that is “other” than the culture, something more like a subculture.

Before you cringe at the idea of Catholicism as a subculture, hear me out. I’m not trying to trivialize the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith. But let’s be honest: we all have our network of Catholic friends, and we relate to them differently than we do to everyone else. This is because Catholics are united in a common focus - a focus on compassion, on virtue, on the reality that we are called to something higher than ourselves. And you can’t get more counter-cultural than that.

Over time, various subcultures have emerged from the intuition that there is something wrong with the mainstream. Subcultural movements continue because their intuition is bang on: the culture is inadequate and it is unsatisfactory. But while these movements come and go, Catholicism remains. Why? Because it has the ultimate answer to the problems with the culture. Because its founder is eternal. Because while spiky hair and heavy metal can make a statement, Scripture and Tradition are always going to have the bigger impact.

The Church calls for a radical re-prioritization in which we live with an awareness of eternity. This must affect all of our choices on a daily basis, from what we wear to how we relate to others. Of course, just because we are subcultural does not mean that we must rebel in any and every way. The dominant culture promotes wearing shoes outside, and I’m fully in favor of that! What we are meant to do, rather, is to see everything that is counter-Christian in our culture and challenge it.

So volunteer at a pro-life crisis pregnancy centre. Eat family dinners as often as possible. Pray. Support small businesses. Practice forgiveness. Fast from social media on occasion. Celebrate feast days. And if anyone raises an eye-brow, remember that you are part of the culture of Christ. Embrace it.

How do you publicly express your Catholic identity in your daily life?

Copyright 2014 Sarah Blake