Catholic Exchange: The Cross Leads to the Greatness We Are Made For

There is a quote by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that frequently makes the rounds in social media: “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” On the surface it is a summons to rise above the things of this world in order to achieve the greatness we are made for by God. The question is: How do we achieve this greatness? The answer is through the Cross.

In the West, we live in an age of comfort. This comfort is plaguing the Church at pandemic levels. It has eroded away her evangelical witness and it has led far too many Catholics to abandon the call of Christian discipleship for the things of this world. It has also led far too many in the ministerial priesthood to fail to teach, to govern, and to sanctify the People of God. Comfort acts as a cancer within the Mystical Body destroying everything it touches in the process.

The path to holiness is not an easy one. It is deeply difficult and it is impossible for us to achieve on our own. It is only through a radical surrender of our entire being to Christ that we can be transfigured into who we are meant to be for the salvation of souls and our own salvation. The means by which Christ transforms us into great saints is through the Cross. It is the only way because it is the same path He walked.

I will freely admit that I did not come to understand this central aspect of the Christian life until a few years ago after many years of intense suffering and after Our Lord quite literally placed three pieces of His True Cross in my hands when he entrusted them to me as their temporary guardian when I was 33-years-old. God was not subtle about it when He made it clear to me that I was to pick up my Cross and follow Him.

This should not have been difficult for me to understand. I’m a cradle Catholic, after all. The fact of the mater is, I never heard a passionate call from the priests of my childhood and young adulthood telling me to die-to-self united with Christ on the Cross. In fact, the love of God was frequently preached, but in a manner that was divorced from the Cross. “God loves us” is all I heard for decades. That’s well and good, but that statement lacks any depth without the full force of the Cross with it.

When I hear “God loves us” in a homily my immediate first thought is: “Yes, Father, but what does that mean? What does that love look like in our daily lives? What is Christ calling us to?” Through His love for us, Christ issues each one of us an invitation to walk the Way of the Cross and to be crucified on the Cross with Him because that is what love looks like. That is the love we are called to; a complete abandonment of self to God and in the service of others. It is the call to put others first, not ourselves, which is completely counter-cultural in an age of me and my wants and needs.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been working my way through Servant of God Catherine Doherty’s writings and biographies written about her. In many ways she is a woman after my own heart and a true spiritual sister. The most prevalent theme in her writing is the Cross. Multiple times throughout her life, holy men and  women prophesied to her about the role of the Cross in her life. From her infancy, her own mother said that she was born under the sign of the Cross.

Read the rest at Catholic Exchange.

Donations—A Thank You

I wanted to say thank you for the donations I’ve received so far through the blog. I never thought about adding a donation option until a reader expressly asked me to. I did pray for God to help me find a way to be able to provide books and resources for priests and seminarians that will help them on the path to holiness. The donations through this blog are a part of the answer to that prayer!

I use the donations to pay my yearly subscription fee for maintaining this blog and then the rest for ministering to the priests and seminarians Our Lady sends my way. Thank you again for your generosity. It’s greatly appreciated.

Please pray daily for our Holy Father, bishops, priests, deacons, and an increase in holy vocations to the priesthood.

Crisis Magazine: A Woman’s Case Against Women-Priests

**This piece was not intended to be a systematic argument against women’s ordination. I would have done that as a theologian and in line with Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. This piece was meant to be a call to my sisters in Christ to abandon the radical feminism that pits us against our spiritual fathers in endless power struggles. This includes in calls to the priesthood, but also the endless battles of women in ministry or in parishes with their priests.

Instead, I’m calling on women to embrace their feminine gifts and to love and serve priests with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For some this will be a more dedicated calling to spiritual motherhood, which is what I have been called to, for others it will be to serve in some other capacity. The point is that it should be charity and service that guide us as women in the Church in relation to the priesthood.**

***I don’t select titles or images on the sites that publish my work***

In order for women to embrace our proper role in sanctifying the priesthood, we must be willing to abandon the adversarial position we often place ourselves in with men. Great damage has been done in the dynamic between men and women, thanks to radical forms of feminism that seek to pit men and women against one another in an endless power struggle. This has served to drive a wedge in all male-female relationships, including between priests and women.

The priesthood needs the influence of holy women, but this influence is not meant to be from a position of power, which so many want to grasp at in the call for women’s ordination to the priesthood and permanent diaconate, as well as other lay leadership roles within the Church. (The latter is ironic, considering that women dominate most leadership  positions within both parishes and dioceses.)

If a woman’s primary objective is having a place of authority within the hierarchy when she argues for equality, then she is misunderstanding both the nature of the priesthood and her call to serve Christ as a woman in the Church. Any movement on the part of men or women in the Church that is predicated on power in relation to the priesthood becomes unmoored from the priesthood Christ instituted at the Last Supper.

When Our Lord instituted His priesthood, He did so by showing His apostles that to be one of His priests is to be a man of service and radical self-emptying. It is to abandon the desire for power, honor, and status in the world in order to take the lowest place on the cross. They are not to lord over the world, or even the Church. Instead, they’re to follow the path of the Suffering Servant who pours Himself out in kenotic love to the Father for the salvation of the world. This means any argument for equality between the sexes that focuses on women’s ordination and greater power for women within the Church is the antithesis of what and Whom the priesthood represents.

Read the rest at Crisis Magazine.