Either the Catholic is archaic, outdated, and old-fashioned, or s/he has hold over a genuine understanding.
The Church has always taught that the dignity of a person is equal. How come then, does it appear that within Catholicism men and women are unequal?
I want to offer, what I have been inspired to believe, as the significance of things; the significance of marriage, sex, relationship experiences, and the exclusion of women from the priesthood.
It is a personal belief that has given me great understanding and also inspired me to a more passionate love of Jesus Christ. I pray the same happens to you.
What Is The Problem?
Imagine if everyone in the world possessed only one eye. What would be its effect? Simply that possessing two eyes was odd and abnormal. Or imagine that everyone in the world suffered from leprosy. What would be its effect? Surely, that leprosy would be the new normal, and anyone without disease would be abnormal.
The first problem is that what is common is now normal.
It is common for man to lie, to choose cowardice over courage, to cheat the government, to fudge real income, to ‘use’ another human for his selfish gain, and this now means “being human,” and is normal.
Modern man has adopted a standard, lesser than his ideal self, and says this is okay, this is the norm. Anyone who aspires for a higher standard of being, and teaches others to aspire to that standard, that person is abnormal. Something is wrong with that guy!
The Second Problem
Postmodern liberalism is racing ahead at full speed to rob from things, the significance of the thing, and reinstate in its place the thing itself.
A thing is never as important as what it signifies. The significance of a thing is always greater than the thing itself.
If you rob sex of its significance, if you rob marriage of its significance, there is nothing left but the thing. The ‘thing’ is of little or no value without its significance and becomes an object to use and discard on a whim.
The worldly man finds value in things. The godly man finds value in the significance of things.
When man is robbed of his significance, he becomes a thing to be used, raped, and butchered. Significance produces a person; the lack of significance reduces it to being just an object.
God is a person. Jesus Christ, our Lord, and God is a person. Fallen man attempts to objectify God by making Him a concept, tries to reduce God to His abilities, by stating that they acknowledge only a superior force.
When man loses the significance of his being, he begins to take care of the ‘thing’ that is now him. A thing is generally inanimate and visible. Anything, therefore, which is not visible suddenly no longer exists because it is not a thing.
Hence for fallen man, the soul and spirit don’t exist, and all that exists is the body and the needs of that body. How to live the longest and most pleasurable life possible, because ‘you live only once’, then becomes the modern focus.
In such a mindset it becomes near impossible for unrepentant man to answer the questions of why not be actively gay, why not perform abortions, why not divorce, why not let someone down for my profit, why be faithful.
The Church and its faithful, however, are rich with significance. Even the Bible, understood only literally, and robbed of its meanings, can become an empty fairy tale, as indeed it does to so many of its ‘rational’ readers.
What is the Significance of Being Male or Female?
God who is invisible, from the very beginning has worked with man in ways to lead man to Him. In one way everything is a sign pointing to God. In another way, everything is a mirror to God’s relationship with man.
The significance of things is universally in these two aspects: (a) finding and knowing God (b) being one with Him.
God is superior to man. He is the maker, the creator, and the provider.
Man is inferior to God. He is the receiver, the cherisher, and nurturer of what God provides.
This fundamental relationship is visible in the creation of man. Man is a living soul when God breathes life into man. Man receives into his soul the Spirit of God.
Humankind, the Church, the faithful – those who receive thus into their beings the nature of God – are the Bride of Christ.
The human female’s relationship with the male mirrors this. It is the male who provides the nature forming and deciding seed to the woman, and the woman who receives it in her person and nurtures it.
The male parent provides the gender and thus the fundamental nature of the offspring. The female chooses, determines, and wills the receiving and nurturing of that seed and child.
Humankind responds in this identical way with God. God provides His seed, and we receive or reject this spirit in our souls.
The spirit is male. The soul is female. The offspring is the composite whole of spirit, soul, and body.
My Lord Jesus Christ does not offer, nor provide me a lesser dignity. He granted me the greatest dignity possible by suffering and dying for me.
My Lord Jesus Christ offers me a subordinate role of receiving, cherishing and nurturing what He provides. Indeed the only dignity I possess is in my willingness to subordinate my self to Him wholly.
I am one with Him only when I am subordinate to Him. The real temptation and resultant disobedience of Eve was the offer to escape a subservient role, and do something on her own which would make her equal or even superior to God.
The human relationship of husband and wife mirrors this relationship of God with humanity, of the Spirit and the soul.
The wife possesses no lesser dignity than the husband, but the wife symbolizes the soul, she signifies the role of all humanity, and the husband signifies the Spirit, the nature of God.
Significance of Our Relationship Experiences
In every marriage, the real pain of that relationship, the fights, bitterness or resultant unhappiness is indeed only God showing you your relationship with Him.
Place this principle in front of you for a while and test its efficacy for yourselves:
Everything you experience in your relationships is the exact mirror of what God is experiencing with you.
You are to God what you perceive your spouse or loved one is being to you.
This means that when I hear myself complain about my spouse (regardless of whether I articulate the complaint or just chew on it in my mind) the real issue is the state of my relationship with my Maker, and that I am doing the very same thing to God that I see my spouse doing to me.
The significance of our relationship experiences is not in discovering that we are superior, or better people than others, especially our spouses, but that these point out the true state of our relationship with the maker and perfector of our souls.
Significance of Clergy
The Catholic Priest is of little or no value by himself. The entire value of the priest comes from what his person signifies. When the priest is on the altar, he is the very person of Christ.
Surely, it is not to rob a woman of her equality that the Church does not permit her to function as a priest. It is to ensure that the order and significance of things is not lost and that the receiver is not permitted to perform what only a provider can do. This differentiation is not inequality, but a constant sign that the female represents all of humanity; all of us who are receivers, and the priest the person of God.
Mother Mary is the Queen of Heaven, the Queen of every future, present, and past, priest, bishop or pope. How could the Church, if it were seeking to suppress women, ever accept and teach such a truth as Mother Mary?
To alter the design and plan of God, to usurp and misuse what He has freely and loving provided, has been the sole and single aim of the evil one from the beginning.
Significance of Marriage
The significance of marriage is that it unites the spirit and soul making it one. The male signifies the spirit and the female the soul. Outside of marriage, sex has no function apart from satisfying the fallen carnal lusts of our disordered selves. Within marriage, sex signifies these three things:
(a) It signifies the outpouring of the spirit into the soul, and the receiving and cherishing of this ‘seed’ by the soul.
(b) It signifies the external expression of an internal desire to be one. The physical oneness is at once, both the precursor and the climax of two individuals being one in purpose and spirit.
(c) It signifies the dual giving as is designed: God gives Himself wholly and entirely to Man, and Man gives himself wholly and solely to God. Immersed in this giving, there is genuine pleasure, joy, and fulfillment.
To be afraid of the consequences of this giving is our carnal wounded nature.
The original design perhaps was that we were to be afraid of the consequences of doing wrong, but sin perverting this design has inverted this fear, and now causes fallen man to be scared of the effects of doing the right thing.
He, therefore, finds it easier (and safer) to lie, than bear the consequences of speaking the truth. He prefers deceit to transparency, contraceptives, and abortion to the gift of life.
Eve was unable to give herself entirely to God and sought a different way to be like God. Cain was unable to give himself wholly to God and gave some of his fruit.
Sex in marriage is the holiest possible act, apart from the Eucharist, for the Catholic spouse. They rob themselves of this holiness when they attempt to cheat the action of its consequence.
It is for this reason, I believe, that contraceptives and abortion is forbidden. Not because it is ‘fuddy-duddy,’ or old fashioned, but to ensure that lust and carnal desire does not enter the marriage bed.
The Man of God
The carnal being wants things without giving; wants things without responsibility.
Sex outside marriage and sex between partners of the same gender, therefore, are abhorrent not because we are outdated and not keeping with the times, but because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Carnal desires, however common they become, will never be normal for the faithful.
In “advanced” “sophisticated” societies, being a virgin boy or girl is seen as abnormal. Premarital sex, and with multiple different partners, is the new ‘common’ and therefore normal in these ‘liberated’ societies.
It is possible that you and I, due to plain ignorance, rampant carnal desires, or simply put, the possession of an insufficient love of God, have been unable to live up to the significance of things.
We are robbed, as a result of our own Joy. Our Lord speaks of the least in the kingdom of God (Lk 7:28), so it implies there are gradients of people within the kingdom.
Repentance is a daily call. Mortification is a daily call. We grow in the Lord daily, and daily does He give us the grace to grow. As everything, everywhere in the world signifies, nothing occurs overnight.
Seek out significance in things. Find the higher purpose hidden within the most ordinary. God has a reason for everything that is instituted and has provided man with reason to seek it out. Without understanding, man is only but another animal.
How things work, is science. What things signify is spirituality.
We need knowledge of both. Sin seeks to pervert man to either extreme. However, the Man of God is one of sound mind, balancing the visible and the invisible, the material and the immaterial, the known and yet to be known as s/he flies daily higher and higher on these wings of rationality and faith.
The beauty of prose or poetry is in its implicit meanings; this is spirituality and faith. There is beauty in the explicit too, but dust is valued less than a diamond; a pebble is insignificant as compared to a pearl from the depths of the ocean.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your understanding. In the depths of your heart, be open to receive true diamonds and pearl.