Friday, September 27, 2013

A Theology of Woman

Pope Francis has stated in his recent interview being shared in many ways on the Internet and other forms of media that the Church needs to gain theological knowledge about women.  This is necessary so that the Church can move more fully into her authentic fruitfulness.  I did not see where he might have put a call out to theologians to begin researching and writing like others might have but his statement still lingers in the air like incense.  It makes logical and faith sense that Pope Francis would do this for it was God's will that men and women be co-stewards of all that He created.  To only have an ongoing historical picture of half of the story leaves most desiring the authentic view of the other half.  This is a blessed opportunity for clarification and education.   So this is a "call out" to all of God's created daughters to speak out about what it is that we would want the Church to know about us?  What have we discovered about our co-stewardship of humanity, the environment, and care for all creatures?  What is our personal relationship to Jesus Christ?  His mother, Mary?  His disciples?  His continued ministry? Our sins? Here is the moment for us as theologians and as women to pray for direction from the Holy Spirit in seeking out the feminine voice and to affirm and lift it up into the realm of its created dignity.

It is an interesting dynamic when the spotlight is turned on the one who has been tormented, abused, forgotten, mistreated, powerless, etc. and asked "What is the truth about you?"  This is certainly an opportunity for "going inward" for the Church and seeking transformation through the discovery of what longs to be uncovered.  How do we get to a spiritual place of providing insight without first ridding ourselves of all of our masks and insulation? My answer...spiritual discernment.  This is the time for turning to the Holy Spirit in prayer and seeking out God's will as to what He would choose to have revealed.  We can do this with complete assurance that whatever His Spirit directs us to do will be best for the Church and the world.  

It has been a difficult but provocative journey for me to discover my own voice.  A voice that is authentically a theologian, a teacher, a pastoral minister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, a gardener, etc. God has gifted me with spiritual gifts that support my ongoing vocation of mercy.  I have walked with children suffering at the hands of tormented parents.  I have walked with Hispanic mothers who feared greatly for the lives of their children being raised in poverty and who revealed their battle with depression brought on by the machismo of their culture.  I have walked with the cognitively disabled and have allowed myself to be drawn into their simple living within the social service structure.  I have been called to be in communion with homeless men, women, and children, veterans, and prisoners, alcoholics and addicts, cancer survivors and those losing their battle to disease. 

I love my Catholic faith for it speaks to the universality of my experience but there needs to be ongoing discernment regarding relationships with my ordained brothers in the Church for toleration is not affirmation.  I am happy reading theological writings on God and how He continues to be in relationship with people of every age and I am humbled in the midst of spiritual discernment students and the movement of God's Spirit actively engaging their spirit.  I have witnessed great generosity and destruction from sins of greed and injustice.  This is truly who I am and anything that I say or write comes from this fullness of life. Some would call this my bias.  I call this my voice.

May God be praised through the prophetic words of Pope Francis and may all women turn inward to seek out their authentic creation and speak out about what they find there.  I will try to do my part in listening and learning, writing about it and teaching it, exciting the younger generation of women with its possibilities and help to spread God's balm on those elderly women who have suffered at the hands of ignorance.  This is certainly a new and lovely day when the men of the Church turn to the women of the Church with interest and respect for difference.  Thank you, Pope Francis, for being actively engaged without fear to the tuggings of the Holy Spirit.

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