This blog's mission is simple--to encourage moms who are married to non-Catholics and raising their children in the Faith. If you know a mom who needs a little encouragement in continuing her efforts, I would be delighted if you would share Kathleen's Catholic with her. Thank you!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

From the Bird & Nature Journal: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Meets Maybelline

by Kathleen Blease

Photo copyright: Roger L. Blease
Our Maybelline as a kitten. She is now about three years old,
but her expression of wonderment is the same when she
is faced with something new. The hummingbird, on the other
hand, seemed undaunted by her presence.
A female ruby-throated hummingbird has been visiting us every morning. At wee-hours this morning, she came right up to the kitchen picture window where our cat, Maybelline, was sitting. They regarded each other nose-to-nose, and May seemed a little stunned by the encounter. Her eyes were as big as pies.

The hummingbird then spent some time skimming over the hew shrub outside the window. It seemed to me that she was touchig each evergreen needle with her beak. Then it occured to me that at such an early hour, the shrub must have been a ready supply of dew, a perfect refreshment for the little bird.

Every day, I see her return to the majestic maple that hunkers over the pond, so I'm assuming that she has placed her nest there. I can't wait for the day when one of those little hummers builds a nest close to the house, someplace where we can enjoy watching her tend to her brood.

Just one more note about the hummers: Last year, as I was wrestling with knee-high weeds in the garden, I heard a loud and low buzzing right next to my ear. It scared the dickens out of me, and in my whimpy way I froze, afraid I might be in jeopardy of being stung by those nasty and agressive hornets. I straightened up ever so slowly to find a female hummer observing me, hovering then moving up and down. It must have been my orange T-shirt that attracted her. It was a great joy to come eye-to-eye with the little darling. However, it also gave me an appreciation for just how long and sharp those little beaks are!

Visit the Bird & Natural Journal for more joyful observations (and some not so joyful) about God's amazing creation.

God bless!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I've Been Tagged, Baby! Three Favorite Scripture Verses.

Many thanks to Celeste Behe at Perpetual Jubilee for tagging me in a blogging meme! The theme for this meme is "Three Favorite Scripture Verses."

Gulp! I humbly confess that I am not very good at following through with Memes.

This is how a meme works:
1. Write a post on your three favorite verses from the Bible and why you like them.
2. Link back to this post.
3. In your post, tag three other bloggers to carry this theme forward, link back to you, and tag additional bloggers.

It's step 3 that usually stops me in my tracks. I can give you a long explanation why, but let's just skip that to save you some time and spare you the annoyance of my explaining myself  to you so I'll feel better. Let's jump right into step 1.

Well, about that. For step 1, I can't say that I have a favorite Bible verse, like a favorite color (blue) or a favorite food (homemade white pizza with handmade kielbasa and caramelized onions and cured olives and ched.... er...let's move on!). No, I have to say that every time I open the Bible, I find something new, revealing, and refreshing.

So here are the three verses I've chosen for today.

(Luke 1: 38) Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
I adore this verse, and I adore this mystery of the Rosary. Mary said Yes to God with great love and with a desire to do His will in even the smallest ways (and thus she calls herself a handmaid) each and every day. This is why I love St. Therese of Lisieux, too, and her little ways.
(Matthew 23: 24) Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!
I read this verse earlier this week, and I was in awe of it. In this part of Matthew, Jesus is denouncing the Scribes and the Pharisees, telling them that they use the law and all its minutiae to keep people from entering Heaven. He tells them that they are guards: that is, they won't enter but they won't let anyone else enter either. They pick at tiny faults (gnat) and have clearly lost the big picture of God's commandments, which are vehicles of mercy and love, and thus sin (camel) against their Father in Heaven. Also, I know I am guilty of swallowing the camel, too!
As a writer and a lover of the written word, I can't help but marvel over Christ's command of language, especially in His use of imagery. Regardless of the translation, His words must indeed be the finest of all literature. Of course, He is Heaven, so His use of language must be the most high, the most perfect, and I am glad to be His writing student!
(John 13: 14) If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet.

I thought about this often last year, when my husband was very sick and spent a lot of time in bed. I'd pray to God to show me His will, and He usually sent me small tasks to complete. It puzzled me. Of all the things that could be accomplished, why send me to give my husband an extra blanket when he didn't ask for one, or to give him a foot rub, or to bring him a cup of tea (which he usually didn't drink because he knew he wouldn't keep it down)? But St. Therese, Mary's fiat, and the scripture of the washing of the feet made me realize that sometimes our callings are very small. Nevertheless, they are just as important as the big measures, especially when God Himself sends you to do them., and we must embrace them with all our hearts.

So those are my scripture choices for today. Thanks, Celeste, for including me!

Readers, you might want to check out my page, Links for the Family and also Other Catholic Blogs in the right column to learn about other Catholic bloggers who are loyal to the Magisterium and in love with the One True Faith.

God bless!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In Your Way? Wasting Your Time? Everyone's Got a Story.

St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, tells us that we can give glory to God in small and meaningful ways. Everyone's got a story. Maybe when we're stuck in line or in traffic, that's God's way of giving us an opportunity to live like St. Therese. You'll love this video.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Time to Revisit...Why Flip-Flops and Blue Jeans Attend Sunday Mass

by Kathleen Blease

first posted Feb. 17, 2011

Right now, I think my parents would laugh, and laugh hard, if they were to read this post. Growing up, I was just as difficult about dressing for Mass as any teenager, and that, well... thirty years ago (Yikes!). This issue is tougher to address these days, isn't it? Why is that? Because those teens are now adults (that's us), and we still want to do our own thing. Boy, do I understand!

There are two ladies who completely changed my mind and convinced me that jeans and flip-flops have no place in Sunday worship. First and foremost is my mother. Mom wouldn't give up. When we attended Mass with our parents, all four of us were expected to dress appropriately and pass a basic look-over. Of course, I whined and cried when I couldn't wear my brand new Calvin Kleins. And, yes, I found ways to wear them waiting until the very last nano-second to show up in the dining room where Mom was waiting. Sigh. I remember, I remember. (Sorry, Mom.)

The second lady who had a big impact on me entered my life in my adult years, after I was married. My brother's wife, Maria, taught me a thing or two about presenting myself at Mass, in front of Our Precious Christ. Maria grew up in a large family who immigrated from Brazil when she was a child. Her mother insisted that the girls wore dresses always. And they all looked beautiful. They learned to be aware of their appearances as children of God at all times, not just at Mass. Over the years, their example has very much affected me. I have to tell you, the ladies in Maria's family are beautifully, modestly, and simply dressed. They are in no way frumpy or matronly, and they believe in maintaining their appearances without gaudy remedies, such as thick mascara or lipstick.

I have made a one-eighty, from a tempramental teenager to a Mom who is watching over her sons' souls. So I'd like to share with you how I have been able to work myself through the various arguments against dressing appropriately for Mass. And, yes, it does have to do with the soul. I'll cover that briefly below. Here we go...

1. Too expensive. "I don't have money like you do. I can't afford nice clothes and jewelry like yours." This is the big one, so let's start here. Granted, there are those who legitimately cannot afford more than very basic attire, but even during the Great Depression every man owned a suit and took care of it. Every woman had a Sunday dress. It was unheard of not to own these. But we're living in today, so here's a timely remedy: Try looking into thrift shops, re-sales, and consignment stores in your area. My boys dress in khakis, button-down shirts (topped with sweaters in winter), dark socks, and belts every Sunday, and it costs under $10 per child, for the entire outfit. They look presentable, neat, and appropriate. Granted, I do think their hair could use a better combing!

As for myself, I find the vast majority of my outfits at thrift stores. The Goodwill in our area is a beautiful, small facility that has fitting rooms, a return policy, and a credit card system. I've found lots of pretty sweaters, blouses, pants, and skirts for around $3 a piece, and they are all in excellent condition and appropriate for the season. I HATE shopping, so I use very little of my time to find clothing. It doesn't take much effort or money. Let's be honest. If it's not getting done, then it's not a priority. When I finally digested that and accepted the responsibility, the job was already half done.

2. No time. "Hey, I'm lucky to get there (meaning, to Mass) at all." What we are really saying is not that we are lucky, but that the Church is lucky that we have decided to attend. I do think we're lucky. What I mean is that we are lucky to be Catholic and witnesses to the greatest prayer on earth, the Mass, to Christ and Heaven touching our world right on the altar in front of us. No time? Consider this: It takes the same amount of time to pull on a pair of jeans as it does to pull on dress pants or khakis. Even less time to put on a dress. No time for ironing? My kids' pants haven't seen an iron in years. Just wash, dry, and hang up. It's a new invention (not really) called wrinkle free, care free fabrics. Gotta love that stuff.

3. Peer pressure. "My kid feels like a dope when he has to wear dressy clothes in front of his friends." Ah, yes. I've heard this one, too, from my own boys. Teens have the ability of taking a simple line of logic and using it to its extreme. Hey, we're not talking about a suit and tie here, just a nice pair of pants and shirt. Don't give in. We're not at Mass to please some buddies. We're there because Christ gave Himself to us on the cross. We should take a good look at a crucifix, and then tell Christ, who was stripped and humiliated and tortured, that we don't want our kid to feel out of place. We really should feel some shame if we do that and still feel right about it.

In addition, kids should be given the chance to rise to the challenge--it's all part of growing into a sound adult. Last school year, I led the local Boy Scout Troop in earning the Catholic Religion Emblem, the Ad Altare Dei. After much thought, but from the beginning, I realized that the boys should wear their dress uniforms (called Class A's) to each of our meetings. This would help show our respect for the topic at hand, Our Lord and the Catholic faith. I had been told that the decision should have rested with the boys, not me. But I disagreed. I was there to teach the scouts, and this was definitely part of the lesson. I held my ground, took a deep breath, and announced it to the kids. I heard not a whimper. No problem. Why? Because each boy did it, so no one was considered odd for dressing appropriately. It was expected and supported. They rose to the challenge. Wouldn't it be great if our children and their friends got together and agreed to dress appropriately for Mass? To unite? To be "cool" by showing Our Lord the respect He deserves? Let's start by making that pact in our own homes.

4. Husband pressure. "My husband thinks it's ridiculous to dress up and won't get behind me on this."  I personally have never had to deal with this. My husband has always supported the boys dressing for Mass, but this is an argument I hear a lot from moms, so let's address it. I suspect that most husbands would LOVE to see their wives in something feminine and pretty, instead of the daily frumpy jeans and T-shirts. Even though my husband doesn't attend Mass, he does notice my appearance on Sunday morning, because it is the only time I get to play dress up. He once said, "I need to take you out, so you can dress like that for me!" I'm not talking party clothes here, just outfits that present you as the Catholic woman you are. I wouldn't be surprised that after seeing his wife dress in this way, a husband would gradually support her cause. Even if he doesn't, then the wife is doing well for her own soul.

There's something special about preparing to see our Lord, even if it's done under pressure, and the interior can't help but get in the right frame of mind. Yes, even when the kids are driving you nuts. (To learn more about the beauty of being a Catholic woman and living out your femininity, you might want to click on The Authentic Catholic Woman: A Book Review.)

5. It's a hassle. "It's a job just getting everyone out the door each Sunday." Oh, boy, do I hear you!! Last weekend, I was upset with my kids for dragging their feet--again. We have been attending Mass every Sunday at 10:30 since they were babies, and still it's a mad dash. Every family goes through this. Yes, it is a hassle. But let's remember the "hassle" our Lord went through so He could give us ("us", as in you, and you, and you.... I don't mean this collectively) His body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. Since my boys are teenagers, they are old enough to understand, and so I finally laid down the law: Be in the car at 10:00. If I leave without you, you are grounded. No yelling, I promise. Just grounded. (Which means they go to bed very early that night. Not a tough grounding, I know, but they definitely don't like it.) Gulp. I think I had better be on time! I will let you know how this works out. Please know that you are not alone! Hang in there and don't give in!

6. God loves us anyway. "And we love him with all our hearts and minds." Hmm. Doesn't seem that we're using our minds here. By saying, "God loves us anyway," what we really mean is, "No matter how little we give Him, He still loves us." Do we really want to give little? Most of us really don't intend on doing this. But intentions and actions are two entirely different things. It's not good enough to intend on giving Him our hearts and minds. We have to do this through our actions, and it's very pleasing to Our Dear Lord. And when it comes down to it, just how difficult is it--really--to dress appropriately for Mass? You might want to check out What Kind Of Spouse Are You?. It's a post about being devoted to Christ and how we show it.

Phew! I'm exhausted! This has been a very enlightening post for me, and I hope it has been for you, too. It's good for me to review the sound reasons for presenting ourselves to Our Messiah in a pleasing way. Please share your thoughts on this. I need to sign off now. God bless all of you!

Please feel free to share this post with family and friends.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Verifying Mass Attendance: What's Your Opinion?

Read the article and share your thoughts.

Check out Lisa Hendey's (founder of article about verifying Mass attendance, at Faith & Family Live! Parishes have different ways to verify that chidlren attend Mass, and many hold children back from receiving the sacraments if they do not attend Mass.

Read Lisa's article, then scroll down to read my comments (I've posted two) and share your thoughts. What's your opinion? Click here to go to Lisa's article now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Not A Bonafide Catholic Mystic

Not a bonafide Catholic mystic, for sure, but this little kitty is absolutely adorable! You all know how much I love animals and God's creation, so I just couldn't resist. Be sure to turn up the volume, so you don't miss the beginning. "Mouse! Mouse!"

God bless!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Streetwalking With Jesus: A Book Review

by Kathleen Blease

Streetwalking With Jesus: Reaching Out In Justice and Mercy
by John Green
with Dawn Herzog Jewell
Foreword by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Our Sunday Visitor
paperback, 208 pgs, list price $14.95
(available at The Catholic Company)

Have you ever had someone in your life who was down and out, on a downward spiral and making it worse with lies, drug abuse, alcohol, loss of family through their addiction? Or perhaps they are victims of their families as well?

He breezed in one day. "Just $25, man, that's all I need. I have a job waiting for me in Boston, and if I can just get there... Bless you, man, bless you. I really appreciate this."

We barely recognized him. Was this the same man who came to our wedding reception with his beautiful wife and children? Clean, happy, cheerful, a warm and loving dad? We knew he wasn't going to Boston. We knew he was living in his car and on the road. Something drew him away from his family, and we had a strong feeling it was an addiction.

I wish we had known better. We gave him the money. And we have no idea where he is today. Author John Green begins Chapter 9 with this advice:
I'm a firm believer that the last thing you should do is give someone money. A handout rarely helps. It might be the easiest thing, but it is seldom the most helpful or most loving. What people on the street really need is your time, touch, or talk. Street people hardly every get paid any serious attention by the rest of society.... Yet a few minutes can go a long way.

John Green has a mission, and he calls it Emmaus Ministries. Streetwalking With Jesus is his story. On the streets of Chicago, he lives his calling serving those trying to exist and survive as male prostitutes. It's a gritty life. A gritty calling. Driven by Micah 6:8, he works for and among the discarded, those who are deeply scarred and truly, truly destitute. But John's calling didn't begin here. He grew up in a clean, upper-middle class neighborhood and went off to college as any other respectable young man would do. His calling drew him way out of his comfort zone--and he answered.

What can we learn from him? Plenty!

We don't need to be on the streets like John Green. The lowly are among us. Sometimes they breeze into our lives and right back out again. If you ever wonder what you can do, Streetwalking With Jesus can give a little insight.

Ever hand money to a beggar and feel the sting of knowing it's the wrong thing to do...but you don't know what to do? My years working everyday in Manhattan brought this angst to me regularly. Back then, before Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Port Authority was home to many vagrants, and we commuters stepped over them every morning, literally stepped over them. Then as we headed out onto 8th Avenue and began our treks across town, a beggar here and there held out a cup and shook it, sometimes extra hard. "I just want a cup of coffee. Just a cup of coffee." I remember one young man in particular who stood in the same stairwell everyday, dressed in army fatigues, looking like a vet, staring out into space, holding out his cup. Every morning, same spot, it was his. Every morning, it was as a sting for me. The truth is, I felt I had nothing to offer and I didn't know where to begin.

I wish I could go back and use those encounters to help praise Christ.

How does one do that? John Green, the man in the trenches, tells us how. He's not expecting you to give up your job and make this your ministry, too. No. He gives us very real and tangible advice about what the homeless and destitute truly need and how we can provide (in the true sense) for them.

Streetwalking With Jesus is a compelling read. It can also be used for reading groups. Each chapter concludes with scripture readings, discussion questions, and links to his wife's original music. John also provides appendices that explain how you can help his ministries. 

Please note:  I would not recommend this book for younger teenagers (younger than 18) because of the topics John addresses.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Streetwalking with Jesus . They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Can We Do For the Non-Believers In Our Lives?

by Kathleen Blease

Perhaps Our Heavely Father longs
to hear, "He is safe. He is with me."
They are all around us. At work, at home, in the stores, on the road. For some of us, they are part of our family. Perhaps you married into a family of non-believers. Not just non-Catholics, but non-believers all together. You are a part of their family and they are a part of yours. There should be some sort of harmony, or at least you should be somewhere on the same page, yet you are worlds away.

It's difficult to live in your faith and at the same time be in harmony with those who embrace the world and all its trappings--materialism, hedonism, money, success, lust, notariety, and so on. Temporal promises and gains. Now let's be honest--these things enter into all our lives at some point or another and in different doses, and we can't help but become tempted. Sometimes it comes upon me when I'm flipping through the latest William-Sonoma catalog (small dose), or when I look at magazines and conclude that our house should look just as beautiful right now (big dose), or when I wish my husband would be strong and healthy already, like he used to be (very big dose).

But what happens when the worldly gifts are some one's goal in life, when they become his obsession? How does a Catholic relate? We all struggle with this, especially me. I have known folks who live by and in the world for many, many years. They know me, they know how my husband and I prioritize our life and raise our children in the Catholic Faith, and yet my eyes have seen no change in them. Each year, they strive to win more awards, make more money, buy more things, and travel the world. They take barely a notice of Christmas or Easter, and Lent is simply the past tense of the act of lending out moola. It makes me a little anxious, and I fall into a sea of questions. Have my family and I not influenced them even just a little bit? Just what am I expecting from them anyway? A major transition? A conversion? Are my prayers and efforts useless? Why aren't they happy? Do they see that I'm happy? Don't they want a more peaceful life? Are they happy worrying, worrying, worrying? How do they carry their load without Christ? Why are they on the fast track? Don't they get tired? To whom do they turn when they are overwhelmed and scared? Themselves? Money? Buying more things?

One day, I took my frustrations with  me to confession. Each year, during the holidays, my angst from watching friends and family embrace the world while rejecting Heaven mounts so high, it needles me to take my eyes off Heaven myself. And I become angry and very, very impatient.

Father assured me, "I'm sure this is frustrating. You will just need to keep trying to show them the love of Christ. And pray for them. That is all you can do."

I was hoping for a magical formula, but deep down I knew he was right. You know, when Christ taught the apostles how to be servants of God, he didn't start a major scholarship program, launch a non-profit organization, or dig wells all over the world. (All good things, of course.) No, he did something very, very simple. It was so simple, Peter was appalled. Essentially he said, "Wash my feet? A slave doesn't even do that!"  But Christ corrected him. It is simple, loving, and selfless. Here is where the work of Christ begins. Something as simple as a prayer for someone you find hard to love, for someone who openly rejects Our Savior.

And it can change us, too. Set out to change someone else, and prayer winds up changing us. At the very least, prayer reminds us that they, too, are children of God, even if they don't know it or if they choose to reject Him. They sadly have given up their birth right, but knowing that Our Heavenly Father, the one we love most, loves them, too, can make things a little easier and put our hearts with the One who is truly hurting. Imagine being Our Heavenly Father, who loves every tiny piece of His Creation way beyond human comprehension...and then to be rejected. He waits and longs to hear from them, but He doesn't. They are lost to Him...and He still waits.

This makes me think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11). My favorite character is the father.

When the son finally decided to go home, his father was waiting for him. Think about what that means. He must have been waiting and watching a little bit each and every day, to be sure that he wouldn't miss his son's return. Every day, anxiously waiting to see if his son just might be coming around the bend. He faithfully waited and didn't give up. And when the father spotted him, the boy was still far down the road, probably still rehearsing what he was going to say to his old man, mustering up the courage and resolve.

But there was no time for that as far as the father was concerned. When he spotted his son making his way toward home, he ran down the road to meet him as fast as he could.

Of course, through the father in this parable, Christ was depicting His own Father in Heaven. Does Our Heavenly Father worry about non-believers--those who think they can go out into the world away from Him, do all things on their own and be their own masters? Christ made it very clear that His Heavenly Father does indeed love and worry about his prodigal sons and daughters and would celebrate their return to His home of faith. (Of course, in many ways we all become prodigal children at some point and in small ways, but that would be another post. This post is describing those who have made it their life goal to be their own masters and who outwardly reject God and Christ.)

I like to add one more image to the story, something any parent would appreciate. Can't you picture the father longing to hear news of his lost son? With so much silence between them, wouldn't he long for any kind of news, any kind at all?

 If a father heard nothing of his son who went out into the world, imagine how comforted he would be to receive a letter from a friend, saying "Your son is safe. He is with me."

Father was right: "Keep trying to show them the love of Christ. And pray for them." At the very least, we can say to Our Heavenly Father, "He is with me." At least it's a start. I understand. I struggle to do this, too. I do.

God bless!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Knit for Japan! Calling All Knitters and Crocheters!!

If you've made a contribution to the tsunami victims in Japan but feel that you would like to do something more personal, then this just might be for you! The goal is four hundred hats. Mittens, scarves, and washcloths are also much needed. A simple single crochet or stockinette or a complex aran cable or fair isle--all are welcome!

Join me in helping them reach their goal!

Get out your needles and knitting looms and check your yarn stash. The deadline is July 15. Click here for all the details. This would be a wonderful and heartfelt project for the young girls in your life who are just beginning to learn the basics; scarves and washcloths would be just right. Perhaps you know a Girl Scout troop or such who would like to contribute.

It gets very cold and snowy in the northern part of Japan, and the people would be so happy to know that they have not been forgotten. Simple, cabled, crocheted...whatever you love to do, share it with others...from your hands to their hearts.

God bless.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bloggers Meet in the Vatican: from Catholic News Agency

Vatican gathering of bloggers hailed as a success

By David Kerr

Vatican City, May 2, 2011 / 10:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The first ever Vatican sponsored gathering of Catholic bloggers is being hailed as a success by participants.

The conference was hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture. It drew a large amount of interest with over 750 bloggers applying to attend and over 9 million Google hits on the subject over the past five weeks alone. Logistics determined that only 150 could take part, so organizers held a drawing, deciding who could attend.

At the end of the event, organizer Richard Rouse seemed delighted.

“It went really well. I’m really glad we had this meeting. It was completely uncontrolled and uncontrollable so I’m glad that it’s taken place. I thought the best thing was the meeting face to face of different bloggers. That was great.”

Most bloggers in attendance seemed to feel that the Vatican was genuine when it said it didn’t want to control the Catholic blogosphere. There was also a general welcome for the Vatican’s own attempts to overhaul its online presence. Reservations still remained, however, about the local level.

“At the Vatican level I’ve been assured that they’re there’s no interest in regulating bloggers - and I believe them. These people don’t lie,” says Rome-based Canadian blogger Hilary White of the “Orwell’s Picnic” site.

“What I think is that they (the Vatican) are trying to do today is to send out a message to the national bishops conferences to say ‘let them go, bloggers are here to stay and that they’re going to keep saying things that people don’t want them to say and they’re going to keep looking under rocks that nobody wants them to look under'.”

As the meeting broke up, there was enthusiastic talk of another similar gathering or even more localized versions of the get-together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just What IS a Woman's Role if She Cannot Be Ordained?

first posted July 4, 2010

by Kathleen Blease

One day, I came across a post on Facebook from a man who, for the life of him, couldn't reason why women aren't ordained priests. Still quite young, he reminded me very much of myself at that age, and he was quick to argue that the Church is sexist in its methods. Many years ago, I too had the argument that since the Church was in dire need of priests, then women should be ordained and given all the privileges of men.

How naive could I have been? Now, many years later, I see the wisdom of the Church, and I'm grateful youngsters such as I was had no authority in the matter.

So what is the role of woman in the Church if she cannot be ordained? Indeed, women hold the highest role! Yes, you read that correctly--the highest role. This is not my opinion. It is the teaching of the Church herself, one which has been underscored by Pope John Paul II.

If you don't believe this, consider:

Mary, Mother of God, is the highest of all saints--including all the men--and the Queen of Heaven, crowned solely for her singular and perfect role as a mother. In all her perfection, her own Son did not choose her to be a priest. She remained his mother, who raised and nurtured Him, who prayed for Him during His ministry and while He was absent from her. It was Mary who also gave comfort to the Apostles, who suffered at the foot of the cross, and whose divine agony became divine mercy, making God's grace evident on Earth.

It was a mother--a woman--through which God made Himself present among His Creation. Remember, God could have manifested Himself in any form and under any circumstance. If He so desired, He could have come to us from the sky a mighty warrior and claimed Israel in one strike. Yet, He came to us through the womb of a lowly and simple, yet perfect, woman. If this does not clearly define the power of motherhood and God's elevation of the woman, then nothing will convince you.

Well, let's try this, too...

Among the saints are Doctors of the Church. These are saints who are considered the most edified among the holy, and they are named such by the Pope himself. Two of my favorites are St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Teresa of Avila. Their gender has nothing to do with their ultimate status!

Now how can anyone call the Catholic Church sexist? But, no, the young man on Facebook wouldn't give up. His final question: "Just where does it say in Scripture that only men can be priests?" Margie Prox Sindelar, a wonderful lady on my friends list, wanted to help him out. Here's what she had to say, reprinted with her permission. Make yourself comfortable, this is a long list that will make you think...and think...and think.

Just because women and men have different roles, does not make us unequal in dignity.... men can not bear children.... So was God sexist when he created us that way? and Yes, there are many places in Scripture that support a male only priesthood, so the church has no authority to change what God has commanded:

Gen. 3:15; Luke 1:26-55-- Mary is God's greatest creation, was the closest person to Jesus, and yet Jesus did not choose her to become a priest. God chose only men to be priests to reflect the complimentarity of the sexes. Just as the man (the royal priest) gives natural life to the woman in the marital covenant, the ministerial priest gives supernatural life in the New Covenant sacraments.

Judges 17:10; 18:19 – fatherhood and priesthood are synonymous terms. Micah says, “Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest.” Fathers/priests give life, and mothers receive and nurture life. This reflects God our Father who gives the life of grace through the Priesthood of His Divine Son, and Mother Church who receives the life of grace and nourishes her children. In summary, women cannot be priests because women cannot be fathers.

Mark 16:9; Luke 7: 37-50; John 8:3-11 - Jesus allowed women to uniquely join in His mission, exalting them above cultural norms. His decision not to ordain women had nothing to do with culture. The Gospel writers are also clear that women participated in Jesus' ministry and, unlike men, never betrayed Jesus. Women have always been held with the highest regard in the Church (e.g., the Church's greatest saint and model of faith is a woman; the Church's constant teaching on the dignity of motherhood; the Church's understanding of humanity as being the Bride united to Christ, etc.).

Mark 14:17,20; Luke 22:14 - the language "the twelve" and "apostles" shows Jesus commissioned the Eucharistic priesthood by giving holy orders only to men.

Gen. 14:10; Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:15,17 - Jesus, the Son of God, is both priest and King after the priest-king Melchizedek. Jesus' priesthood embodies both Kingship and Sonship.

Gen. 22:9-13 - as foreshadowed, God chose our redemption to be secured by the sacrificial love that the Son gives to the Father.

Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19 - because the priest acts in persona Christi in the offering to the Father, the priest cannot be a woman.

Mark 3:13 - Jesus selected the apostles "as He desired," according to His will, and not according to the demands of His culture. Because Jesus acted according to His will which was perfectly united to that of the Father, one cannot criticize Jesus' selection of men to be His priests without criticizing God.

John 20:22 - Jesus only breathed on the male apostles, the first bishops, giving them the authority to forgive and retain sins. In fact, the male priesthood of Christianity was a distinction from the priestesses of paganism that existed during these times. A female priesthood would be a reversion to non-Christian practices. The sacred tradition of a male priesthood has existed uncompromised in the Church for 2,000 years.

1 Cor. 14:34-35 - Paul says a woman is not permitted to preach the word of God in the Church. It has always been the tradition of the Church for the priest or deacon alone (an ordained male) to read and preach the Gospel.

1 Tim. 2:12 - Paul also says that a woman is not permitted to hold teaching authority in the Church. Can you imagine how much Mary, the Mother of God, would have been able to teach Christians about Jesus her Son in the Church? Yet, she was not permitted to hold such teaching authority in the Church. (A note from Kathleen: Note that this is not referring to CCD teachers and mothers. This is referring to the teaching authority we now call The Vatican, The Pope, who provides us with the infallible teachings of The Church, which is protected by Our God from error.)

Rom. 16:1-2 - while many Protestants point to this verse denounce the Church's tradition of a male priesthood, deaconesses, like Phoebe, were helpers to the priests (for example, preparing women for naked baptism so as to prevent scandal). But these helpers were never ordained.

Luke 2:36-37 - prophetesses, like Anna, were women who consecrated themselves to religious life, but were not ordained.

Isaiah 3:12 – Isaiah complains that the priests of ancient Israel were having their authority usurped by women, and this was at the height of Israel’s covenant apostasy.

I'll bet you never thought there was this much available in Scripture. To all Catholic women, I'd like to say:

If you are a mother, you know that your tasks are endless and can seem overwhelming. Indeed, we have a habit of using the word "mundane." But the truth is, motherhood can seem to be too much not because it is mundane but because it is so huge! Embrace the task Our Lord has granted you. You are the moral gate keeper of your home, and it is your most urgent task to raise the next generation in a way Moses instructed his people. That is, teach your children while you are at home and away, at work and at rest. Teach your children so they can teach their children and all the generations will know Him.

God bless!

You might also be interested in my book review on The Authentic Catholic Woman, which is an excellent and uplifting explanation of the how the Church sees her precious daughters and their unique role in God's plan.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...