... "I would make a good Deacon." she dejectedly informed me one evening. And I have no doubt in my mind that she would, in fact, make a wonderful devoted deacon ... were she a man.
This heartfelt, and no doubt painful, admission does not make her a heretic in my eyes. She is not trying to subvert the Church with liberal feminist ideology. She doesn't march around the parish collecting signatures for a petition on women's ordination or chain herself to the pillars in front of the church and other such nonsense.
She is quietly obedient to the Church's teachings on the matter despite the fact that she doesn't fully understand them. Like a parent who sets down rules for their children, who may not fully understand the reasoning behind said rules but out of love for their parents and fearing the repercussions, the children faithfully obey.
As a young girl I liked to test the boundaries of my mother's rules. I thought they were unfair and restrictive so I sought to break them at every opportunity. It wasn't until I was a grown woman with a child of my own did I see the boundaries were set for my own good. And in hindsight, no good ever resulted from me intentionality going against my family's wishes.
My dear friend, we'll call Mrs. J, is very active in the parish and involved in several ministries. I have no reason to doubt her love for Christ's Church. I just wish she could see that her role within our parish is valued and means so much to so many. Instead she feels like the only positions within the Church that are of any significance are of priest and deacon... roles held by men.
Feminism has taught her that unless she is pursuing man's work her efforts hold no worth. It is shameful that so many believe following the role of a Catholic woman within the Church is some how less than that of a man's.
Finding out she secretly desires the diaconate actually made me appreciate her even more and proves to me that she is of greater faith than most. She doesn't bemoan the unfairness of it all or attempt to slander the Church. Ironically, Mrs. J reminds me of a woman dutifully obeying her husband; "Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:21-25
No where in there does it say you must fully comprehend in order to obedient. It doesn't say "obey without question", just obey out of reverence for Christ, which Mrs. J does with every ounce of her being.
I feel the same way towards young girls who want to be altar servers, of course now there is nothing to stop them. But it's just another instance where they are trained by society and well meaning feminist mothers that nothing they accomplish is of worth unless it's a job typically reserved for a man. There is no loss of dignity in embracing a femininity similar to that of Mary. Women shouldn't feel like that have to compete and behave like boys to live meaningful spiritual lives. Personally, I wish the practice of female servers could be replaced with the Handmaids of Mary.
Moms and Fathers of daughters reading this [especially priests], the Handmaids of Mary is a unique society of young girls that "serve" the mass by kneeling at the altar modeling the strength exhibited by Mary at the foot of the Cross.
I hope Mrs. J reads this and knows that she is valued and admired, that she doesn't have to doubt her worth and sacrifice her femininity. That really goes for any woman reading this.