I’ve added a new link to my Catholic Resources page (see menu above). The link will take you to a website which lists lots of links to classic Catholic books like “The Imitation of Christ” (pictured).
These are free books available in various formats. Enjoy!
The Forest by William Morris
By woodman’s edge I faint and fail;
By craftsman’s edge I tell the tale.
High in the wood, high o’er the hall,
Aloft I rise when low I fall.
Unmoved I stand what wind may blow.
Swift, swift before the wind I go.
I was looking for a picture of a beautiful tapestry to illustrate the following poem. I found the above image which features another poem (above) that is not entirely irrelevant to my point for this post. Just like trees that are felled to make beautiful or useful items, and just like vines that are pruned so that they become more fruitful, we too undergo trials that feel catastrophic at times but are in fact beneficial in the grand scheme of things. Here is the poem I originally intended to share with you. (I’m not sure of the attribution so if you have a better idea then please let me know.)
The Divine Weaver by Kevin Mayhew
My life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colours
he worketh steadily.
Oftentimes he weaveth sorrow
and I, in foolish pride,
forget that he seeth the upper,
and I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly,
shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
in the weaver’s skilful hand
as the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern he has planned.
I used to think the Catholic Church was misogynistic, but I was looking at it with the eyes of the world rather than the eyes of faith. I used to have all sorts of silly and erroneous ideas about the Church. Since my conversion I feel like I’ve taken the red pill in The Matrix. The veil has been lifted, and I can see much more clearly.
The Church doesn’t teach men that women are sex objects, or vice versa. It doesn’t teach that sex is primarily for pleasure, or that sex outside marriage is a good idea. It doesn’t teach women that it’s okay to kill their own babies in their wombs. No, it’s the secular world that teaches us to objectify women, to regard babies as a disposable inconvenience, and to pursue pleasure above all else.
True womanhood, and true manhood, is about being obedient to the will of God. Marriage between a man and a woman is an earthly reflection of the union of Christ with the Church. Families are an earthly reflection of the perfect love and relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Families break down when they stop obeying God’s will, or stop relying on God’s help.
I read a beautiful article recently by Father Richard Heilman. He describes how woman is the pinnacle of God’s creation. The article is a lovely tribute to true womanhood and the tradition of veiling.
It’s true that women can’t be priests (and that’s primarily where the misogynistic reputation comes from) but they can dedicate their lives to God in equally valuable ways. Men and women are not the same or interchangeable, despite what the secular world is trying to get us to believe. God has given us different natures and roles. We serve God best by fully accepting our role in His grand plan.
And, if you think that women should be allowed to be priests maybe you don’t understand what a priest is. I’m only a newbie Catholic but, as I understand it, a priest is chosen by God to stand “in persona Christi”. A priest offers the Mass and the Sacraments in Christ’s stead. It seems logical that God chooses men for this role because Christ was incarnated as a man; the new Adam (with Mary, through her fiat, as the new Eve). It is through ignorance or arrogance that we think that we could over-ride God’s will, and force Him to make a woman a priest.
From the Catholic Catechism (my emphases are shown in bold):
…Today the word “ordination” is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a “sacred power” (sacra potestas) which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination… The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry… The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible… No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God… Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.
The video below offers another way to look at this issue:
If you’re jealous of the rank and prestige that men can attain in the Church perhaps you should think about the dreadful risk that bishops and cardinals take. These are only mortal men but they are expected to retain (and develop) their humility and other virtues while being offered the privileges of their rank. Powerful positions offer great temptations that can jeopardise the fate of their eternal souls. Not only that, these positions mean that they can also jeopardise the fate of many other souls. The deepest parts of hell are reserved for shepherds who betray their flock and do not repent.
You cannot be a Christian and not recognise the privilege that it is to be a woman, because the most perfect of all creatures, the only creature born without original sin, is a woman and therefore once again you understand the extraordinary privilege of being one and having this image of the Holy Virgin, who was both Virgin and Mother and the two go beautifully together.
– Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand (via Fr. Heilman’s article)
Note: The photos of stained glass windows were taken last year in my local church.