Thursday, December 23, 2004

God loves us like a Father

JCecil gave me the following holiday writing assignment.

1) God loves us.

2) An encounter with the resurrected One proves God loves us.

3) An encounter with the resurrected one leads us to understand that Christ is divine, revealing that the human person is the center of God's attention.

4) The Holy Spirit is given to all who profess these truths, and perhaps to some who only profess the first truth.

Can you demonstrate the logical connection between a belief that women cannot be ordained and one of these four truths?


After some thought I am going to tie it in with the first one, God loves us.

God does love us. He created us and I believe that God has a special place for each one of us in his plan, that each one of us can work to glorify God's name, and that God's greatest desire is that we choose to love Him back and be with Him someday forever in heaven.

But I also believe that we cannot totally know and completely understand who God is, at least not in this earthly existence. God's thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways. So God loves us. But each one of us will still go through the uncertainty and perhaps fear of death and dying. All of us will experience hardship, pain, and loss. And God still loves us. I could write an entire posting on how each of those things show us that love. But rather the point I want to make is that God loves us but we do not always understand that love or how He uses these heartaches, pains and losses to further show us that love and to teach us.

God has revealed His magnificent self to us throughout history. Certainly in ways He wants us to know Him and to understand Him, perhaps also in ways that we are only capable of understanding for now. He reveals Himself as a mysterious triune God. He shows himself as creator, protector and benefactor. Then thankfully, He comes to us in the human person of Jesus Christ, because He knows that most of us aren't like Noah, Abraham and Moses... we need a tangible physical presence to actually tell us and teach us who God is,and what God wants, and how we can love like God and how we can live like God wants us to live.

And what God/Jesus teaches us is that God wants to be known as "Father." Even more than that from Jesus using the word "Abba" he wants to be known more as a "Daddy." the image I have is of a strong chest, big hands that just envelope me, the deep but kind voice that soothes my heart, the big grin that makes me run for that hug!

Some of my readers may remember my own father was an alcoholic and my memories of him are scant and not necessary good ones. But my Grandfather was all that I said above. He worked hard. He provided for us. He goofed around with my sister and me. When I was a little girl I could sit on his lap and put my head on his massive chest. His hands were old, rough and warn, and his fingers like huge sausages, but I loved to put my little hand into his big hand and watch my own disappear in his grip. So what did I do? I married a man just like my grandpa! And I see in Mr. Pete the same kind of father! A man who works hard for all of us, who envelopes us all with his love. A man who buys candy, and little toys, and goes down the sled with his kids, and bought them a puppy! A man who sings songs at night and makes sure teeth get brushed. But besides all of that, he is a father who is a strict. He doesn't allow certain bad behaviors and he teaches by example how he expects his children to act. He also loves me, his wife, not as a perfect young bride, but as his bride nonetheless, with all of my flaws and imperfections, and that love has been fruitful in many ways.

I believe that when Jesus ascended, God wanted his Church to have that earthly figure of the father and all that a father does to carry on his work in the church. I think that is why he chose 12 men to carry on his work and to found the church, and why he picked dear St. Peter to carry the keys to the kingdom and to lead and guide the new church. From the church and early scriptures we also see the imagery of the bridegroom and the bride.


Father Bloom puts it this way:

The male priesthood is necessary because Jesus the Bridegroom had to be male. Only a male can represent him at the altar, the renewal of the great act of sacrifice by which he gave himself totally for his Bride. After talking about marriage and the mystery of human sexuality, St. Paul says, "There is a great sacrament (misterion) here. I take it to apply to Christ and his Church." The very reason God created sexuality and made that theme run through his creation and his Bible, is to suggest, to foreshadow, to signify what will endure when this passing world is gone. The wedding feast of the Lamb and his beautiful bride.


JCecil further asks: Desiring to be a priest is obviously a good thing. Some women who desire it seem physically and mentally capable of it. Why would God deny this holy desire?


I think we have to be very careful in this society at this time, to recognize that all of our desires might not necessarily be from God. Or further, we may have a desire but we misinterpret what that desire means and wants from us. This may especially be difficult for as American citizens. Father Bloom says:

First we must ask: Why is this teaching so difficult for us, especially as American Catholics? The answer is clear. Saying women can never be ordained, can never attain some position that is reserved exclusively for men, goes against the grain of everything our culture stands for. We believe in the equality of all people and that there should be no artificial obstacle to advancement. This doctrine is sometimes called "egalitarianism."

The Civil Rights movement of the last four decades has fought to enshrine egalitarian principles in legislation. The aim is to not only eliminate barriers but to undo the damage caused by past discrimination. Because of our basic philosophy, to accuse someone of prejudice or discrimination is a heavy insult. The accused can even be brought to court.


Again I think it is good to remember that God's thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways, and that although He does love and care for us, that love can still manifest itself in heartache and pain for us, as we are still unable to see the full picture of God's plan for us.

Kimberly Hahn said on one of her many tapes, that she had a strong desire to grow up and be a Presbyterian minister, just like her dad. In college however, and maybe this was about the time she and Scott started being drawn into the Catholic church, she became convicted through scripture that a woman in that role just wasn't scriptural. Yet, Mrs. Hahn has used those same talents that would have very well served her as a minister, to write books, record tapes, and give talks that have been very helpful and inspiring to lay Catholic women in their roles as mothers and wives.

The Little Flower also had a great desire to be a priest. Yet she became one of the great doctors of the church through her example of suffering, and her writings. Her Little Way has helped so many people work on their own holiness and relationship with God.

But rather than being second class citizens, women have a huge part to play as part of the church. The most obvious ones of course are as wives, joining with our husbands to serve God and help each other on the journey to heaven. Also of course as mothers, nurturing, teaching, and caring for the children we receive and helping them to also come and know God and serve Him. But even as single women, religious or lay, the opportunity is their to love and serve others as our Blessed Mother did, with selflessness and humility. The most revered human being in the Catholic Church is - Mary!

So that's my essay. Let's see how it is received.


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