The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmate.’
I wonder so often why the Lord our God said this? Aside from the fact that man can not go forth and multiply alone, there does appear to be a deeper meaning, ascribed to the goodness sake of man alone, which before a helpmate did not please my Lord. For God saw that for man alone, it was not good to be alone. Simple. He needed a helpmate, and not another man, but someone who brought the good for man, made of his bone. A woman. A helpmate. The good was in being together and not alone, the good was in helping and complementing each other as helpmates.
So our Lord He did just that.
Q. Why then I ask you would The Lord God have made man a helpmate (when it is not good for man to be alone) only to carry out the mission of His Ministry helpmateless?
A. He didn’t. He made woman. Helpmate. And after the fall of Adam and Eve he made them self-conscious, so that they would not in ignorance fall again in His presence, He brought them to righteousness for their goodness sake, for it was not good for man to be alone.
Why then for our Lord who we all wish to serve, please, honour, worship, revere and apply ourselves to the commands of His Will, have we denied Him His helpmates. For near on 2000 years the work that our Lord Jesus Christ began so perfectly with His apostles and helpmates ‘administering to their needs’ who formed the ideal community in Christ, did we see fit to exclude women to the ranks of sinners and outsiders, else place women merely in the distance.
2000 years ago with His Grace, so much goodness was set against the cultural norms of the day. The woman at the well (first apostle to many) the beloved Magdalene (first witness to the resurrection) dearest friends Martha, and the much-loved Mary of Bethany (with her prophecy and anointing rights) the women at the foot of the cross (when others ran away) Mother Mary full of grace, all were very much present against the cultural norms of the day. Our Lord Jesus worked tirelessly to keep women in the forefront of His vision. And then later of course there be others inspired and encouraged by The Word made Flesh, like Phoebe, and so too others, some recognised amongst the endless female Saints who lived, sacrificed and died for their Lord.
“Phoebe is here termed a servant, διακονον, a deaconess of the Church at Cenchrea. There were deaconesses in the primitive Church, whose business it was to attend the female converts at baptism; to instruct the catechumens, or persons who were candidates for baptism; to visit the sick, and those who were in prison, and, in short, perform those religious offices for the female part of the Church which could not with propriety be performed by men. They were chosen in general out of the most experienced of the Church, and were ordinarily widows, who had borne children. Some ancient constitutions required them to be forty, others fifty, and others sixty years of age. It is evident that they were ordained to their office by the imposition of the hands of the bishop; and the form of prayer used on the occasion is extant in the apostolical constitutions. In the tenth or eleventh century the order became extinct in the Latin Church, but continued in the Greek Church till the end of the twelfth century. See Broughton’s Dictionary, article deaconess.” (source http: //www.newadvent.org/cathen/04651a.htm) (May 2012)
We are so very blessed in our Catholic Church today, there is ‘no shortage of women within our parishes who are shining examples of holy living.’ Many women whom quietly do so very much, whom I will only ever fall short of.
But still there are no formal vocations in parish life where women can be dedicated to prayer, contemplation, and service to our Lord, that in any way reflects the same formal dedication to that of the deacon or of the priest.
We need deaconess’ and shepherdesses, a vocation of deepest discipleship. We need to serve our church with a dedicated role in a committment equal to that of the permanent deaconite. Even if Holy Orders are not permissable, we need vocations for women in deepest prayer and radical compassion, contemplation and Love. We need to serve our Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And for a deacon that does not mean he has to do so without his family’s support.
We need to be taught to do so (where intuition falls short), we need to support and to have support from our parish priest, our bishop and our Catholic Church. We need to be a female presence of strength and prayer, of contemplation and dedication, and of support for our communities, just as the early women were to Christ and the apostles. We need (as dedicated disciples) to embrace our vocation within our communities, not hidden away in convents, not out of sight in all female orders, not on our own, but a visible presence, dedicated to our parish and the poor in spirit, but above all else we need to belong to Him in prayer and service, as in the two greatest commandments.
- Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
- Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
And if we can not dare to be embraced in being so in this way by our Mother Church, then maybe we just need to be this way as individuals in our communities in our lives and in our witness, in fact in every way that we can be . . . Anyway.
And one day maybe our church will embrace us to be just so, as The Lord our God already has. Why not begin right now, with this our year of faith!
- Our Father who art in Heaven,
- Hallowed be thy name.
- Thy kingdom come.
- Thy will be done
- On earth as it is in heaven.