Important Women in the Church

There are so many aspects to the 'women priests' argument that are at odds with the Church that it is difficult to know where to begin. Theologically speaking, on so many grounds, those who seek a change in Church teaching on this subject (or indeed any subject) are all at sea.

It strikes me that those who campaign for 'women priests' in the Church really misunderstand what the Church understands by 'vocation', as well as the Church's mission as a whole. St Therese of Lisieux joyfully exclaimed that she had found her vocation within the Church. She was, as the large majority of Catholics know, a nun. Surely, anyone who has become a nun, one would have thought, has already discovered their vocation? However, St Therese, because of her great sanctity and profound friendship with Our Lord, suggests that she only discovered her true vocation after she had made her profession to enter a convent. Her vocation was to be 'Love in the Heart of the Church'. She wrote...

"O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction." 

She didn't say, "O my God. Make them change the rules so I can be a Priest. I can't bear this nun lark!"

The Church, by virtue of Her Holy Tradition and the Sacramental nature of Ordination, the Sacrament having been given Her by Her Founder, Our Lord Jesus Christ, cannot alter Her position on the requirement for Priests to be male. Not only this, but not even every male is considered to be suitable for the Priesthood. I mean, if all of the men who had been told explicitly that their spiritual directors believed that they did not have a vocation to the Priesthood and all of these men formed an alliance called, 'Men Who Wanted to Be Priests But Who Were Told, "You Do Not Have a Vocation to the Priesthood, Try Something Else", Priests Now!' then they would still not be able to become Priests since it would be abundently clear these men have a problem with Obedience.

That is not to say that women and indeed men, do not have a 'priestly' or 'apostolic' mission in the Church and to the World. Every Catholic is really called upon to defend the Church, to proclaim the Gospel and to evangelise by word and deed. St Therese of Lisieux certainly saw her role as missionary, priestly even, but with childlike simplicity and humility understood that her expression of Christ's saving love was different to a Priest's expression of Christ's saving love. A mother's expression of Christ's saving love is different to that of a Priest or a nun as is that of a husband's. Rest assured, however, that Heaven has little regard for human status and mothers, fathers, nuns, single people, Bishops, Priests and the Pope are highly esteemed and loved by God!

Becoming a Priest, is not like becoming a youth worker, or a journalist, a nurse, a doctor or an accountant. It is a Vocation to serve Christ in a special way, to be Alter Christus, 'another Christ', not merely to strive to imitate Him, but to be Him sacramentally. A Priest may or may not have sins many and large, but, regardless, it is Christ who acts through the Priest at the Consecration of the Bread and Wine, Who transforms these species into His Body and Blood. It is Christ Who absolves, through His Priest, the sins of the Faithful in Confession. It is Christ Who, in Baptism, acts through the Priest, bringing a human being into the life of the Trinity, Who bestows Sacramental Grace upon those adopted into the Family of God.

There can be no understanding of the role of women in the Church without recalling the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a woman so very highly esteemed by God and honoured above all women ever before and ever to come in human history, that she was spared the stain of Original Sin, having been conceived immaculately and bore the very Son of God Himself in her womb.

There will never be a woman so important in the Church as she. She is so important that we pray to her every Mass. She is so important that we are encouraged to pray to her very regularly indeed, to intercede on our behalf to her Divine Son. She is a model for all not by virtue of what she did, but who she was and is now before the Throne of God. None shall ever be so close to God as she. Look, here she is, literally bestowing the Church and the World with Grace because she is the Mother of God!

I mean, can you imagine being a woman, or indeed man, so important that everyday people get up in the morning and pray to you? St Therese of Lisieux knows how that feels, St Anthony of Padua knows how that feels and the Blessed Virgin Mary definintely knows how that feels...

St Francis of Assisi didn't even think himself worthy of becoming a Priest. He was a man, he was exceedingly holy, he was very humble and let's face it would have made a wonderful Priest, but he entrusted himself to Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary and allowed Heaven to do the rest.

No matter what heretical authors say, St Mary Magdalen was not a priestess, nor was she Our Saviour's secret lover or wife. Today's Gospel recounts how she sat at Our Lord's feet and just listened to Him. One can imagine she did that a lot, clinging on His every word that left His Sacred Heart and was delivered by His Sacred Tongue. Her part, that of a contemplative, was 'not to be taken from her'.

All the Saints and Martyrs tell us something about God, but their lives tell us that if you want to be important, ask to be delivered from that desire. I'm sure Blessed Mother Teresa said exactly that. Be close to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mother, be loyal to your mother, the Church, pray, seek the Face of God, love God and your neighbour intensely and maybe, just maybe, one day, you will be a very important person indeed.


shadowlands said…
Perhaps until Our Lady or Jesus shows us who we are in their eyes, we will always seek pseudo recognition from the world, incorrectly seeing this worldly approval or rank as proof of our importance in God's eyes.

There was a hymn line when I was a child that went something like this

"Lose yourself in Me
and you will find yourself
Lose yourself in Me
and you will find new life."

So really, we should just get Jesus.

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