The culture seems to indicate that I should feel a bit like an oppressed victim. Partly because I am a woman and even more so because I am a young, Catholic woman. The “male-dominated hierarchy” that imposes a radical ban on my sex from becoming a cleric is meant to be railed against. And yet I do not imagine myself to be oppressed or a victim. Instead, I feel genuinely free.
Recently, I started reading Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves and I’ve found it to be quite enjoyable. The stories are from women who embrace the fullness of the teachings the Church has to offer, finding within the precepts a path to freedom and joy. In the news and social media, many take it on themselves to speak for Catholic women and how we must feel. Breaking Through makes the bold claim that Catholic women do not need anyone to speak for them; rather, Catholic women have the ability and intellect to speak for themselves. Instead of writing us off for actually embracing the Church’s teachings, others are encouraged to listen to the personal experiences women have had as they have grappled with and eventually embraced the wisdom of the Church. Continue reading “A Law of Freedom, Not Oppression”
At different times I find myself missing college. While it was stressful and filled with numerous papers, I miss the unique setting that is found in living in the dorm and sharing my daily life with many others. The fact that a perpetual adoration chapel was only a short walk away was also a major benefit. Sometimes I was overwhelmed by the constant stream of people around campus, prohibiting any chance of being alone and filling my melancholic soul with stillness and silence. Despite that, I found it invigorating to be surrounded by young people my age who desired to zealously live out the faith. Of course they failed, but it was to my never-ending joy to be able to enter into deep theological discussions at the drop of the hat.
Once experiences the beauty of such an environment, everything else seems to not compare. Now I don’t live in a place that is teeming with young Catholics. I have a real job and I have to concern myself with money. The goal now, as opposed to the liberal spending of college, is to earn more than I spend. College was a steady stream of cash poured from my pockets and from the pockets of a couple banks.
Yet every now and then I am able to recognize the beauty of the present moment. I remember that I live with three young women that are on fire for the Lord. That we do engage in deep conversations, that we are sharing our lives together, and that we can challenge each other to delve deeper into our faith. Last night we had a women’s prayer group meeting at my house and I was filled again with a sense of gratitude. Women from different jobs, places, backgrounds, and lives came together to be rooted in prayer. At one point I was concerned that our conversation would be offensive to some of the new ladies but I was even more encouraged to find out they weren’t. We could talk about praying outside Planned Parenthood, contraception, ObamaCare, medical ethics, Catholic hospitals, and much more without any tension or conflict. We seemed to be in one accord.
I thanked the Lord that I didn’t live on my own but with women I can grow with. I am not alone in my faith or without Catholic friends, but rather the Lord is increasing and strengthening these friendships. My community may be small, but it is sufficient for me. The Lord provides. He knows what I need and He is supplying. Perhaps not in the abundance that I dream of or desire, but in the amount that is perfect, necessary, and manageable.