Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lacking Celibacy

As I wrote previously, I took my favorite niece Largo, and her friend Casey, to a Switchfoot concert. At the show we ran into some of her friends from the church she attends (and where I attended, before being welcomed into the Catholic Church). One of the boys, is this amazing 15 year old, who towers at several inches over six feet, and who seems to be a natural leader for the other kids. I myself look up to this young man, not just 'cause he's a few inches taller than the monkster, but because of the way he shepherds the other kids. It is very obvious that he genuinely cares for each of them, and equally, without a hint of favoritism for any one person. I have seen him walk away from swooning teenage girls (did I mention he's also a very cool looking MTV poster boy as well), to go hang out with a sixth grader who' been left out of whatever the group that day is doing. I have never heard him say anything even a tad negative about anyone, which I always thought was the only things teenagers said in this "this sucks" "that sucks" time of their lives.

His love for the others is actually second, to his love for God. While his words are not always the most literate or profound, they do convey a love for, and a constant pointing to, God.

Mr. D'atagnan, um, what's your point? ya want this kid to be Pope or something?

Well yes imaginary reader, I kinda do, or should I say that I could easily see him as a priest.

Contemplating this, made me again frustrated with my Evangelical background and the way there is no place for Celibates, and the over empathise on marriage and "family". I am so thankful that the Catholic church makes distinctions between a vocation of celibacy (whether religious or laity), and a vocation for married life. While there may be a time of discernment as to where God is calling a person, it isn't , or need be, the lifelong limbo of the unmarried, or over divorced, Protestant.

That they (Protestants) even expect that their pastors be married, which I am seeing so clearly now as a mistake. Family is a 24/7 commitment, as is pastoring of a church, so often one or the other lacks the person's complete attention. I know how hard it is for my "married with children" friends to find even time to spend with their spouses, let alone hanging out with their good buddy Mike, so how is a Pastor to do this effectively with a whole congregation? Could this also be one of the reasons PK's (pastor's kid) often run amok for a time? (although, thank God, most usually find they're way back).

Granted, that many folks buy into the erroneous idea that artificial birth control is O.K. (or worse, they have never considered whether it was or not, but that's another post), so their families are often smaller than would be if they trusted God as much as they do Warner Chilcott or Barr Pharmaceutical . Sometimes smaller isn't better, as in large families the elder kids often start to take on some of the parental responsibilities, which can even prepare them better for their own family life one day.

Than I think of someone who may actually have no interest in dating or marriage, but feels the need to play that role, especially as friends constantly provide them with potential spouses at parties or church events (or worse, that they feel the need to quiet the "are they gay" gossip). For me, a born romantic fool, I do like having a loving snuggling partner in my life, but don't really know if it is what God thinks is best for me, and I am so thankful that the Church has many options available to me.

I was pondering all this as I thought of St. Joseph, a man who said yes to God, and in turn lived both a married life, and a celibate life. A man who raised a child as his own, providing for both mother and child,"Joseph the worker". A man who as a Catholic I view a true role model for any man, but who as a Protestant I only dusted off at Christmas for my Nativity scene. St. Joseph thank you for your "yes", and your example.
St Joseph pray for me.

All of the above is a bit of bittersweet, as while I am so truly thankful for the true fullness of faith that the Catholic church gives me, yet I am also constantly saddened to think of my friends in the church of "theological holes and empty spaces" that is Protestantism. Sad, that a 15 year old who I see as a great servant of God, may never know his full potential in Christ. Even sadder when I wonder how many others are out there, who will never be guided to their true vocation, because too many Bible Christians are so busy with WWJD, they never ask WILWW ("what if Luther was Wrong?", 'cause me thinks he definitely was), never questioning why their own churches keep splintering, but Rome stays firm - built on a "rock" that Jesus made.

D'art has left his soap box for the day, seeya tomorrow (O:


Anonymous said...

The frustration your Evangelical roots provide is actually a great gift.


Michael K. "Rose" McCleary said...

Pray that this "gift" be used as He would want.

God bless,