Tuesday, May 16, 2023

She gets it: why a woman can't be a Priest

Why a Woman is Not Called to be a Priest

As a young person noticeably seeking Christ in my life, being part of the Catholic Church, and discerning consecrated life, several times I have been asked: “Do you want to be a priest?”

In short, I cannot be Father Jacqueline! I would make a terrible father, just as a priest would make a terrible mother.

What I think many do not realize is that there is the Petrine part of the Church as well as the Marian part of the Church. In other words, it is not all about the priests. They are not the high leaders and only role in the Catholic Church. In fact, there is a whole feminine dimension of the Church.

The Petrine dimension represents the work of men in the Church, most visibly in the order of the priesthood, handed down by the first apostles of Jesus—Peter, being the rock, the first pope, and the leader of the apostles.

The Marian dimension represents the work of women in the Church, most visibly in sisterhood, motherly leadership, and bridal love. There is a Trinitarian (or three-fold) work involved with the Marian dimension of the Church. Just think of Mary. She is the daughter of God the Father. She is the mother of God the Son. She is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.

So, Mary is the daughter of God the Father. The responsorial psalm at Church that we sing on Marian feast days is, “You are the highest honor of our race.” We get these words from the book of Judith (it is about a woman, who singlehandedly took on the whole Assyrian army by cutting off the head of their leader, Holofernes). Women are daughters, just as Mary is a daughter. Daughters are especially beloved by the king. They were designed to give themselves to a husband, be it God, or be it a man who is under God. “Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house; and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him” (Psalm 45:10-11). A woman marries a man and they become one flesh; the man is a son of God; the woman is a daughter of God. Their different characteristics as man and woman come together as one (Genesis 2:24).

Women are mothers as Mary is the Mother of God and the mother of all of us. If Mary is considered to be everyone’s mother (As we learn when Mary was with St. John at the cross of Jesus in John 19:25-27), then we women should do the same. Women are called to be mothers, biologically and spiritually. To everyone. For example, I consider myself a mother to many priests. I usually do not tell the priests that I am their mother, so I do not “freak” them out as many are older than me, but I pray for them as a mother prays for her children.

Then, women are called to be spouses of the Holy Spirit as Mary’s spouse is the Holy Spirit. A woman is called to give herself to her husband “until death do us part.” As Mary receives the Holy Spirit, women receive the love of man, and with such love, a child is born. For Mary, we all know who that child is! Nuns and consecrated women are spouses of the Holy Spirit. They receive Him and bear much fruit, be it by continuous prayer and work, missionary activity, contemplation, and just being a presence in the Church.

So, yes, Father Jacqueline does not fit me. I am no theologian or scholar, however, as a personal witness to being a daughter of God Most High, a mother of many spiritual children, and a spouse to the Holy Spirit, I am a witness to the wonders of womanhood. I would want this precious role no other way.

Nuns and religious sisters are at a very low right now. That is one of the reasons why we do not always see the “Marian” side of the Church. We do not realize the importance of consecrated life. This goes for the same as priests right now. I am from the Archdiocese of Detroit. We had no priests to ordain this year. Thus, our dear Archbishop has called for a year of prayer to bring forth vocations to the priesthood. Not as Father Jacqueline, but as Miss Jacqueline, I pray daily for Archbishop’s intentions, taking all priests and seminarians as my “sons.”

I visit religious sisters and consecrated virgins as my “sisters” in Christ, but I also have sisters in my bible study, friends, cousins, and of course, my biological sisters.

My twin sister is married with a son (my godson!). As she married an earthly man and is having physical children, I am discerning if I will marry a heavenly man (Jesus) and will take all people as my spiritual children.

I can do all that I have written and do not have a call to be a priest.

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