This past weekend, I had the absolute honor and pleasure of attending the Ordination to the Priesthood of one of my great friends, Fr. Stephen Marsh. He was ordained this weekend with three other men. Though it was a long journey, Fr. Steve has finally arrived, and this new chapter in his life has only just begun.
While being at his Ordination Mass, I was overcome with such gratefulness for our Priests and awe for their sacred office and how God is present to us in them. However I was also saddened to know that they are so often taken for granted, and that many Priests do and have grown cold.
When we look at Salvation History, we see throughout it the great lengths that God has taken to give us this gift of Salvation, to show us his unconditional love for us, as well has His mercy and justice. We see this in a big way in scripture with the levitical priests, who offered sacrifices on our behalf. We also see this through God giving the Israelites the Manna in the desert to nourish them.
With the death and resurrection of our Lord, this did not end. It changed. With our Priests, they offer the one unbloody sacrifice of our Lord on the cross, made present at the altar, for us and with us, at Mass. This was commanded by our Lord Himself that it be done. Jesus offers Himself to the Father and also nourishes us in the Eucharist, as he is the new Manna, the Bread of the Angels. He is present in the Eucharist in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
What a great responsibility and gift our Priests have been given, being entrusted with this sacred duty of offering us the Sacraments, without which we would not be saved. It brings me to tears, this fact that Our God loves us so deeply, so that He deigned to make real to us now, make available to us now, through his Priests, our salvation. When we sin, and put this salvation at risk, with a firm resolution to never sin again, and a good confession, we can return to our Lord. What great mercy!
St. Francis de Sales said “O my child, bethink you that just as the bee, having gathered heaven’s dew and earth’s sweetest juices from amid the flowers, carries it to her hive; so the Priest, having taken the Saviour, God’s Own Son, Who came down from Heaven, the Son of Mary, Who sprang up as earth’s choicest flower, from the Altar, feeds you with that Bread of Sweetness and of all delight.’
We need to remember this gift always, and pray always for our Priests, that they remain good and holy, and always advancing in virtue. St. John Chrysostom said that “If priests sin, all the people are led to sin. Hence every one must render an account of his own sins; but the priests are also responsible for the sins of others.” What a great and divine duty our Priests have.
Please keep the newly Ordained Priests in your prayers, as well as all of our current Bishops, Cardinals, and Priests, that the love of God and His Church in those who have grown cold may blaze bigger than ever before, and for the rest, that their love for God and His Church would continue to strengthen and grow. May we always be grateful for our Priests, as without them, we would not have this great gift of Salvation available to us.
Maybe you’ve seen the “Ordain a Lady” video on YouTube recently, and found yourself suddenly and involuntarily ejecting all liquid that was once in your mouth into a makeshift high-pressure stream which proceeded to slice your computer monitor in half. Amidst the wreckage you begin to type in a comment that says, “hilarious parody! Can’t believe you did that! You had me ROTFLM-A-E-I-O-U-AND-SOMETIMES-Y”. But as the video continues, you stop yourself before clicking “post” because you start to realize, “wait… is this for real?”
Or maybe you’re one of those who discovered the video after they disabled comments. In which case all you have to show for it is a monitor that is sliced clean in two, and the feeling of being confused as the dickens.
I share your confusion. And alongside this meme, I wanted to note a few interesting points of what they said, and the peculiar logical disconnect in how they said it.
Thérèse of Lisieux:
I love St. Thérèse. She’s so awesome. But she did not ultimately desire to be a priest. Getting carried away in hyperbole, as St. Thérèse sometimes did, she spoke of her desire to essentially be and do all things for Christ. Among this list she stated that if she were a priest she would act with great reverence and love in giving others the Eucharist, etc. She then submits herself fully and lovingly to the Church saying that even as St. Francis (who could have become a priest) was not a priest, she too would “willingly imitate him in refusing the honour of the priesthood”. (You can read more about this here). If St. Thérèse thought she truly had a calling, she wouldn’t “willingly” imitate St. Francis, but “begrudgingly”. I just can’t imagine how, being Carmelite, and having the vocation to pray for priests, St. Thérèse might feel about her name being dragged around to promote female ordination.
Don’t listen to St. Paul / Excommunication? I’m still glowing
Yeah sure, because if you want to receive a Sacrament that is based on and understood through Scripture and Tradition, then you go ahead and discount both Scripture and Tradition. This one just baffles me the most. I have to imagine that even the majority of women out there who struggle with male-only ordination would themselves find this reasoning laughable. It’s one thing to argue that maybe we’re misinterpreting Scripture, or that there could be loopholes in the Church’s teaching that leave female ordination as a possibility…. And while you’d still be wrong, at least this is a more intelligent argument than to cast aside the very things that give meaning to the priesthood. What you’re left with then is… well… just a title and a job I guess? In which case, you don’t need the Catholic Church to do that. You don’t need a calling to do that. Just go hop on board one of those other churches that are trying to “schmooze” you and it will be the same thing.
But God just called me, so ordain a lady
This one is less obvious, but I think it’s worth looking at. A calling has always been discerned through two sources: the individual and the Church. Take me for example. I am a Seminarian. I feel called to the priesthood. But the Church has to agree with me. Even though I’m currently petitioning for ordination to the Deaconate, the Bishop could write me back and say, “not yet”, or “not at all”. If that was the case, it would do me no good to post a video with a catchy tune to try and plead my cause. If the Church says, “no” to me, then I must accept. Just like in a marriage there are two partners, if you want to marry someone and the desire isn’t mutual, the reasonable course of action isn’t to try and tell that person that they’re simply wrong and need to “get with the times”. It may be hard, but you can’t force these things.
Where do you think the Church is going?
I may as well ask these ladies the same thing. If ignoring the Scriptures and Tradition of the Church are things which seem okay, I’d have to wonder what our Church would look like, and where it would be going if it gave up on the only two sources upon which we receive the teaching of Christ. We’d be left with only private revelation, in which each person would claim whatever he or she thinks God might be saying, which as we’ve already seen through people who follow only private revelations, leads only to far greater division and disagreement.
So I put the question to you, the reader: where do you think the Church is going? And what are your thoughts on female ordination and why?