Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sorrowful endings. New beginnings.

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5"Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'
8"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
16"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' 17You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.' 19You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it. (Matthew 23:1-22)

The Roman Catholic Church has been losing both priests and congregation for many years. The Vatican has asked for us to pray for vocations and many have been doing so. The pope declared last year the year of the priest in hopes of focusing on the need for vocations, to encourage those who wish to serve God in a priestly ministry.
Although I believe that God always answers our prayers, God does not always answer them in the way in which we think appropriate or in a way that we determine is correct. In the vernacular of the day, "God does God's own thing".
So ironically, it was in this year of the priest that I said yes to the call to be a part of that priestly ministry, but not in the Roman Church. Instead I have been called to join the priestly vocation in the National Catholc Church. Now some will say I am committing a sin against the sacraments; some will say I have no right to seek ordination; some will say I am no better than a pedophile. But, my first question is, what will Jesus say? Will Jesus be angry with me for trying to enter a ministry that is solely open to men, by his own design? What did Paul mean when he said that we were all one in Christ? What did Peter mean when in Acts when he made reference to both men and women receiving the Holy Spirit and prophesizing?
It has not been easy to make this decision and leave the Roman Church. I have a comfortable place in my church. I have lots of friends. I am recognized by many. For a woman, I have done well in the Roman Catholic Church. But I feel Jesus calling me to give up everything and follow him. Giving up everything is not aways about things and money. In my case it is about people and friendships. My decision will cause some to turn away from me. It will cause some to look down on me. I will no longer be held in esteme in my parish church; I will lose many friends.
But, I know in my heart that Jesus walks with me on this new stage of my life journey, guiding my footsteps and carrying me when I no longer have the strength to walk. I know that even though everyone may turn against me, Jesus will remain at my side. So, who else do I need?

Peace and love,


"Then Jesus said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". (Luke 9:23)

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