Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Catholic Woman's Voice

I am a Catholic woman.  I was baptized in the Catholic Church 57 years ago and have had a very intriguing and challenging relationship with Her ever since.  I love Her dearly and truly do feel that She holds within Her Holy Scripture, Holy Traditions, unfolding Theology and active living while in relationship with the Holy Spirit what God has chosen of Himself to reveal to mankind. That sentence, as I look at it, sounds nice and neat and wrapped up like a gift but in actuality it contains within it every prayer, every cry, every tear, every blessing, every covenant, every struggle, every transformation, every Sacrament, etc. of every member since Jesus' calling of His apostles. It is messy and sometimes smells bad.  It contains within it human sinfulness, not to be easily discarded but rather mercifully understood.  There is anxiety and open struggle.  There is censure and reformation.  There is fruitfulness and contemplation.  There is sameness and division.  It is worldly with a male only Magisterium of leadership and yet brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus living simply as co-stewards of God's Earth. However one feels about Her, for me, she is where the "action" and the depth of being is that I am called to and I am grateful that in God's creation of my life that He chose me to be part of Her.  I love the unity of Her catholicity and the dialogue with others that She proclaims as spiritually necessary for Her continued life and renewal.  There is division with other Spirit led people, and that saddens me, but yet I have to wonder if the Holy Spirit Himself isn't working within the anxiety of each distinction.  I truly believe that if and when He so chooses, the Church that desires Truth will lead the way in unification.  God's will not ours.  God's time not ours.

Today I find myself with both a Masters of Pastoral Ministry and a Masters of Theology framed and ready for my study wall next to my national certification as a Catholic Chaplain.  I had prayed to be immersed in God and He answered my prayer.  But after all of these years of education, research, and relationship I am only beginning to discover my feminine "voice" and the feminine voice within the Church.  This blog will be used by me as a way to help clarify those things which I, a Catholic lay woman,  know to be true.  For others who gift me with the time of reading my reflections I hope they will feel called to community and share with me their thoughts so that through our continued dialogue we may delve more deeply into what God wants us to understand more clearly about each other and about Him. 

The "way" of Spiritual Discernment has been a very prominent focus of my faith journey for the past five years.  Many people find their way to discernment through some program that focuses their teachings on those of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  This was not my experience.  I was not familiar with St. Ignatius and his Spiritual Exercises but today I am certain that what he gave through his desire to live God's will has been a wonderful gift to the Church and to humanity.  I say this because I, too, had to discover what happens to life when a human being enters into the holy place of "wills".  When a person, female or male, enters deeply into the space that is God and their authentic personhood, there is only one choice to be made and that choice is one of love that can only, through its holy nature, ask that we freely give over our will to that of God's will.  I had a moment such as this and will return to this in the course of another blog posting.  For now I will just say that it presented to me a life with an uncertain direction, the need for steadfastness, a deeper awareness of His revelation within nature, and He has left me wondering even more at my female place at the table of the Church.  He loves me dearly.  I know and sense this.  I love Him, too, and truly want to be His faithful daughter.  So, on to another journey.  My hope and prayer is that it will be fruitful.  What I do know for sure is that it is where He wants me to be and that it will certainly be remarkable.

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