It’s a small parish. The week day congregation is but a handful. “There isn’t one of us here that isn’t deeply hurting and broken inside by something …….” went the beautifully poignant homily. Everybody sitting before me lowers their head or freezes (and that is everybody, because I can see). I have the very best seat in the house apart from the priest and the deacon. The very first seat as you enter, and the very last seat as you leave the church. The one right at the back, furthest away from the altar. It was the empty seat which I allocated myself when I first came to church. It feels like I am home when I am sitting here. I observe the people from here. It is so very funny how folk always gravitate to ‘their’ same seat. Many people have asked why it is that I do not move forward, that I am welcome to sit in a seat which physically makes me more welcome. But I like my place. It is a place of privilege and specialness.
In my seat I am perfectly in line with the 8 month pregnant statue of our lady. I have perfect sight of the lectern and the priest. I get to say hello and goodbye to people. Everyone sits before me, and in a blessed way I can sense their reaction, mood and emotions during Mass, and in my perception, maybe even just with a warm smile or a prayer, I can give to them accordingly. (observing people from behind is very humbling and revealing). I also get to sit with all the children, who have un-self-consciously so very much God about them. One also feels that if there were going to be an intruder I could protect the children, else possibly be the first person martyred. Maybe it is time to move.
Maybe when women deacon’s (as of old) supporting Christ are re-instated, I will move to the next best seat in the house. Or maybe in my humility I wont.
“Those who are last shall be first.”
Mt 20:16 “So the last shall be first, and the first last. A special lesson, first, to the Jews. They had been called first by God, but the Gentiles who heard the call should soon enjoy special privileges. They would even be first in the kingdom, because of their greater readiness to receive the gospel. Our duty in the vineyard is to go to work as soon as the Lord calls us, and to do what he tells us.
– People’s Bible Those who are last shall be first.”
I do not want women priests. I do however believe that for far to long women in the Catholic Church have been denied their rightful place along side and supporting Christ, sharing a blessed and formal vocation within the parish. Female deacons (regardless of whether or not they are ordained) should be reinstated (as historically) and have a formally recognized vocation and ministry, and not just the opportunity for a vocation outside of parish life in an all female order. Historically female deacons it is debated were of a different role from that of today’s ordained male deacons, who may eventually become priests. I also believe that priests in the west should be allowed to marry. Priests presently would have to leave their beloved priesthood if they wanted to marry, and yet married ordinariates can be received into the Catholic Church as priests with their wives. What a beautiful and holy example of family to behold. God Blessed.
“I love the theological richness of the married priests in the East and their wives called “presbyteras” not because they are thought to be female priests, but rather their vocation to marriage has called them to be “one flesh” with their husband (who is a priest) and has caused them to accept, as it were, a richer call, as was the original woman in Genesis, to be a “helpmate” to her husband in his priestly ministry.” TAC Editors American Catholic.
It is time again to draw upon some inspiration for this years christmas letter. Humility has featured in a rather Giant way in the past months. Three very special mothers at the children’s school died from fairly short but cruel illnesses, leaving no less than 7 children between them. It is only a small village school with one class per year and the ripples are profound. So much Grace and dignity and humility were borne, that you couldn’t even begin to grasp. Life is so very short. Why oh why can’t we just choose to Love and be close to those people who are so very dear to us, whilst we have life together upon earth. Why do we continue to deny God and to behave in cruel, untrusting, distant, unjust and hurtful ways. Why so often do we choose to cast pain and not Love and kindness.
Last weeks homily was beautifully inspiring
“It is in friendships freely chosen that we continue to grow in the art of love. And then, next, romantic love may come. We fall in love with someone and, if we have any humility, we marvel at the love itself: How is it that this love has happened? And, more extraordinarily: Why on earth do they love me? At this moment we discover something new about love: ultimately, it cannot be earned. It is sheer gift and must be celebrated.
Life’s lessons in love mirror what Jesus teaches today: ‘You must love.’ For a human being to be fully alive, they must know they are loved and they must love in return.”
I Love words. The word Beloved is such a perfectly beautifully special word. A word of the highest order in fact. A word which I believe is unsurpassable. A clever word. A word which describes the absolute highest order of feelings for another, whilst at the same time allowing and opening oneself to the reciprocation of feelings God bestows upon self, and the most mysterious and beautiful thing is that to be-loved and to be Beloved can never be in vain.
I have been Seeking Inspiration from Last Years Christmas Letter and decide maybe to make this years one a little more Be-Loved