As I say, the misuse of “awesome” is fading, but the misuse of another word is on the ascendant. That word is “incredible.” This adjective is used to describe anything that impresses the speaker. For example, “the performance last night was incredible,” or “she has assembled this incredible staff.” The 2004 animated movie about superheroes with attitude (The Incredibles) didn’t help matters. But what does “incredible” actually mean? It means non-credible — unbelievable. If someone says that my homily was “incredible,” they are saying that it is not believable — they don’t buy a word of it — hardly a compliment!
I think the overuse of the word “incredible” tells us something. It tells us that “credibility,” belief, is on the wane. People are saying that just about everything is “incredible,” and not by accident. People find many more things “non-credible” today than they did 40 years ago. We don’t believe in our members of Congress, our President, our heads of respected corporations, even our priests and bishops.
To all this “unbelief,” we Catholics say, Credo. “I believe.” Our faith is not in man or things human, but in God. This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. I believe in the Passion, Death, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that God lives, and lives in each of us. Let’s keep a good Lent, insisting that there is still room for belief in the world.