In honor of the beauty of ‘woman’: mothers, sisters and brides

It was early in our marriage that I, Matt, treated Mindy more like an object than as a helpmate—I was selfish.  My own mother sensed a lack of grace from our marriage. She approached me and said that if I hadn’t been to confession in a real long time that I wasn’t truly being faithful to God, my wife and the Church.  That was painful to hear.  However, it seemed to put the finger on the heartbeat, or rather lack of heartbeat, in our marriage.  Because of selfishness and sin, I was asleep in our marriage, or at the least in a deep slumber. Begrudgingly returning to the sacrament of confession, as my mother proposed, I experienced the love and mercy of Jesus that I had never allowed him to pour out and into me.   2 Corinthians 5:17 states: “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”

In Christopher West’s book Theology of the Body Explained he notes that “matrimony” literally means “the state of motherhood.” “Matri” means “mother” or “motherhood” (from the Latin mater – “mother”) and “mony” comes from munus which means “mission, calling, gift, present or service.”

Human beings are the crowning glory of all of God’s creation and God knowing all, saves the best for last—woman.  Eve is the very last of God’s creation in Genesis.  May we as men boldly, with the help of God’s grace, stand up—like the first Adam failed to do—and crush the head of any serpent that tries to tempt our brides, our sisters our mothers, or any woman, away from God.  May we defend our brides and lead them and our families toward God.  May all husbands be men of God and carry out a mission that our wives want to be under.

The graces received from the sacrament of reconciliation that day awoke me from my slumber, and a newfound love for Christ, our Church and my bride came about.  Sometimes we men fail to realize that we can be “real men” on our knees; we can be real men praying the rosary to our Blessed Mother Mary; we can be real men teaching our children about our beautiful faith; we can be real men honoring the dignity of all women, but especially our wives.  With continual growth in the sacramental life of the Church and with God’s abundant grace, Mindy and I joyfully celebrated our 23rd anniversary on Divine Mercy Sunday.

The month of May is the month of Mary, our Blessed Mother, and in it we celebrate Mother’s Day for women all over the world.  When Jesus freely laid down his life for his bride the Church, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son,” and to his beloved apostle, St. John, “Behold, your mother.”  Jesus, from his holy and venerable cross, created a new order and gave his mother, Mary, to all of humanity as our mother.  Mary is the new “Eve.”

Genesis 3:20 states: “The man gave his wife the name ‘Eve’ because she was the mother of all the living.”  Or as St. John Paul II put it in his apostolic letter “Mulieris Dignitatem” (“On the Dignity and Vocation of Women”): “Thus the ‘fullness of time’ manifests the extraordinary dignity of the ‘woman’ … the ‘woman’ is the representative and the archetype of the whole human race: she represents the humanity which belongs to all human beings, both men and women.”

St. John Paul II, pray for all men to protect and honor the dignity of all women!

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.

Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash