As always, feel free to comment anonymously.
How long did you seriously use NFP to avoid pregnancy while childless? What is the longest that you know of among your friends/acquaintances?]]>
This complaint is the result of the same utilitarian misunderstanding that causes people to suggest that the important thing is to do good for others, and it there is no point in being good unless it accomplishes something. Conservative Catholics can then support priestly celibacy because they understand it from a skewed utilitarian perspective: married priests couldn’t give themselves over to the Church completely, and the Church requires 100% of their energy. The celibacy of active religious is also appreciated, since it allows them to do great work- after all, can you imagine a married Mother Teresa?
But we completely miss the point of giving oneself entirely to Christ. And so we view cloistered religious life as quaintly lovely–though certainly not a vocation for our daughters or friends! And celibate marriage is completely nonsensical. It does not matter what its status is in Canon law and Tradition! It does not serve an obvious utilitarian purpose, so it cannot be right.
The problem is, of course, that Christianity is not utilitarian.
You must break the alabaster jar of your life.
But it could have been sold and the money given to the poor! That would clearly be so much more virtuous!
And they could have conceived children! That would clearly have been so much more godly! It simply is the way that things are supposed to be!
But Jesus is not the LORD of Utilitarianism. And following Christ just does not work that way.
Many are called but few are chosen. There is no shame in not being chosen, but there is shame in castigating others simply because we do not understand their calling. So please respond to upcoming posts on celibate marriage and certainly let me know if you think that I am wrong about something. But please also take great care in your comments to not insult those who have chosen to embrace Christ differently than you.]]>
Ave! This should be my salutation
addressed to everyone with Mary’s joy.
Ave! This is an announcement of grace,
reconciliation, renewal and resurrection.
Ave! This is a wish of divine benediction.
Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
I had just finished reading Van Thuan’s thoughts on the importance of the Ave. And I had resolved to work on greeting others with joy and openness. For how am I ever to get to the point of offering the perfect fiat to God when I cannot even offer an open ave to the people I encounter each day?
And then I was stopped in my tracks by a man.
Man: Hello, I see you around here a lot.
Me: Yes, I live right down the road. I like to stop and talk to St. Joseph.
Man: What is your name?
Man: Oh, I would have guessed Maria.
I smile. And he continues to ask me a bit about the man he has seen me with (my husband) and where I am from origionally. He also tells me that I am welcome any time and talks about a noise from a nearby car and the weather.
I answer his questions and smile and nod a lot. But other than asking his name (ah! I did not guess the “Father” given his clothing and the fact that I have never seen him celebrate mass at the chapel or oratory) and where he was from originally, I do not extend the conversation. I would have liked to talk more, but I could not tell how much he felt like talking and how much he was just finding out who it was who was walking around the grounds for which he had some responsibility.
And yet, maybe I did know that he wanted to talk. Just like that young priest almost a year ago… the one whom I answered politely and shyly, waiting to see whether my husband or friend would jump in. They continued to pray, and I felt awkward talking in church. So I answered his questions and ignored his obvious need to hang out with random young adults who found it worth the time to be at daily mass and pray morning prayer.
I view priests as humans. I greatly pity the isolation of the typical parish priest. Given my religious interests I typically find priests more interesting than the average person. But I am not friends with priests. I always assume that they have better things to do than to talk with me. This is somewhat justified considering how busy they are and the many times I have seen their eyes fill with dread at being cornered by some parishioner who wants to talk endlessly, or confess urgent sins- even though they just received communion. Perhaps I just want to make sure that I am never the one who makes them wish that they had left the room in time to avoid me.
Or perhaps I just stink at loving others in the very simple human way of sharing conversation and offering friendship. Perhaps I just fall too easily into the role of the perfect child who never needs anything.
Oh God, please help me to love others, no matter what their role or title. Please help me to say “hello” with love, and follow it up with a confident offering of friendship in whatever form is appropriate at the time.]]>
I will post on this after Easter, but for now I would love to have your view.
Do you agree or disagree?
Do you identify as a member of any religion?]]>