Friday, April 17, 2009

Bodily Integrity

I had a job interview for a religion teaching position this morning. Because I don’t have a theology degree, I had to define my prayer by what books I read, etc. etc… But they did get me thinking what my favorite encyclical was, which is Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Artists. It is simple, moving, and inspiring. I just went looking for it and found again a different encyclical by Pope Pius XII in my stash. Sacra Virginitas from 1954 reminded me of the recent scripture on the road to Emmaus and the call of witnesses to the life of Christ.

Priests as witnesses of Christ “are to resemble Christ the Bridegroom.” Christ in the scripture constantly calls the disciples to a higher state of being. The men on the road to Emmaus sense their hearts were burning with Christ’s presence near. How easy it must have been for those who lived with Christ to seek the higher state beyond our base inclinations?

Pope Pius XII goes on to describe the efforts of devotees of Christ in this way:
Spiritual bonds of union with Christ could not, by themselves alone, appease their burning love for Him. Their love must needs be proved by imitation of His virtues. It must be confirmed by a special likeness to His life, which was wholly addressed to well-doing and was spent for the salvation of mankind.

It is logical, that if our Roman Catholic priests are to imitate Christ in a way that is wholly addressed to well-doing for this community, they must remain in absolute chastity.

The need for the World to impose twisted discussions on this topic constantly offends me. People who I have defended this topic too are the very same who say, “Oh, we cannot judge people, we cannot place our own ideas on others, we must tolerate all people.” These people are the very same that cringe at quotes like the following and are speed-of-light quit to judge.

To me, O Christ, Thou art everything. For Thee I am keeping myself pure and, shining lamp in hand, to meet Thee, my betrothed, I am coming in haste. St. Methodius

The two men of Emmaus experience a divine revelation, I think, just as valuable as Christ’s risen presence. That is the acknowledgment that a separation from Christ is a light that doesn’t burn.

Pray for more priestly vocations

Hail Mary, full of grace;
all generations call you blessed.

Hail Mother of God; when asked by the angel
to bear the Son of the Most High,
filled with faith, you responded:
"Let it be done unto me."

Holy Mother of Jesus, at the wedding feast at Cana,
you prompted your Son to perform his first sign.

Be with us as we discern our life's work
and guide us in the way we are called to follow
in the footsteps of your Son.

Holy Mother of the Savior, at the foot of the cross
you mourned the death of your only Son.

Bless and embrace the loving parents of all priests,
deacons, brothers and sisters.

Holy Mother of the Good Shepherd,
turn your motherly care to this nation.

Intercede for us to the Lord of the harvest
to send more laborers to the harvest
in this land dedicated to your honor.

Queen of Peace, Mirror of Justice, Health of the Sick,
inspire vocations in our time.

Let the word of your Son be made flesh anew
in the lives of persons anxious to proclaim
the good news of everlasting life.