Saturday, August 27, 2016

Women in the Church


I have to say at the outset, that my thoughts on this subject are not yet well-formed, and I reserve the right to edit this later!

I know some women who feel very much excluded by the Church, because we do not ordain women to the priesthood.  This is an issue that has never been a problem for me, perhaps because--as a convert--I tend to be a fairly conservative Catholic.  I entered the Church because I believe it is truly the Church founded by Christ and descended to us from the Apostles, who were all chosen by Jesus and who were all male. This is what the Catechism has to say about it:

"Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason, the ordination of women is not possible."

So, to me, that is the end of the argument and no further discussion is called for. 

I have an overwhelming, personal devotion to Jesus.  In fact, I think of Him as my Lover, my Spouse, in the way that, in the past, vowed religious women also did.  As a female, it is not a big leap for me to truly fall in love with one of the Persons of the Trinity, the one who came to us as a man.  Although I know that consecrated men and many laymen also love Jesus, because they are male, I don't think they can really love Him the way I can, the way all women can, by virtue of being female.  The relationship we women can have with Him really is a marriage, if one falls deeply in love with Him. 

Thus,  I feel that in a very profound way, women actually in some sense have an even greater role in the Church than any man can, by virtue of our sex--because we can be Jesus's spouses on earth, and there is no closer relationship than that.  Sometimes, when I look around at Daily Mass--where you see few men--I think to myself we are actually the foundation of the Church, the remnant.  Men can and do love Jesus, of course:  but they cannot love Him with the all-consuming passion that women do, simply because they are not women. Because of the way God made us, our sexuality enters into every relationship we have, even though it is totally chaste.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Suffering: Accepting the Cross You Have Been Given


I have been having terrible problems for quite awhile in getting along with my elderly parents.  I have lived with and cared for them for 4 1/2 years, but the major anger problem I now have is quite new.

Although I pray constantly for relief, asking for my heart to change--confess the same lack of charity over and over again--I only improve for a short time and then I fall into sin again. It is frustrating, humiliating, and depressing:  I had a much better opinion of my virtue, but clearly, I was wrong, and I hate it.

Tonight after Confession, Father gave me this penance: to pray before the tabernacle and tell Jesus about all my struggles.  I did what he assigned me to do, and I received this insight:  I am suffering...yes, it is emotional suffering, not physical--but real suffering nonetheless; having to face the truth, that I am not the good person that I thought I was, is very hard to take.  Moreover, what I have been doing is refusing this suffering--asking Him to let this cup pass from me.  I have been asking God to take the suffering away--to make me better, not so that I will be more kind to my parents, but so that I will not have endure all this shame and frustration at my inability to change! Pride, pride, pride! What I should be doing is what Jesus did. "Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done."

This is apparently the suffering that He has sent me, probably something that I need, and what He has ordained for me to endure. So what I should be doing --and am now resolved to do---is to embrace it, to accept it in union with His suffering on the Cross, until such time as He chooses to release me from the grip of this ugliness within me.