I dare to share my personal experience. I anticipate to say, for me it has been a great liberating wealth.
No matter what I have been taught, in the past, here the most important thing is to discover the work of the Spirit that encourages and liberates me.
I was taught and learned from the Catechism of Father Astete sj:
"P. Why did Jesus Christ institute the sacrament of Baptism? R. Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of Baptism to forgive original sin, and also the personal sins committed by the baptized person. " (1).
I asked: "What is original sin? they answer me:
"Original sin is that which we inherit from our first parents, and through which we are born without sanctifying grace, and subject to the disorder of our bad inclinations, to ignorance, to sufferings and to the danger of eternal death" (2)
I believe, I will never understand, why children of God, small, helpless, have to carry something that they have not committed? If they were adults, there they would understand, but not because they are the fault of their ancestor, but because they have already done something, consciously.
I have another question no less interesting, which appears in the Catechism of the Christian Doctrine:
"P. What obligation do their parents have regarding the baptism of their children? A. Parents have a grave obligation to have their children baptized very soon so they will not be in danger of dying without the grace of God. "He saw, in passing, a man born blind. And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who sinned he or his parents, so that he was born blind? Jesus answered: Neither he sinned, nor his parents; it is so that the works of God may be manifested in him "John 9: 1-3" (3).
Nobody can be forced to baptize, except as an adult. The value of the sacrament as an encounter, how that discovery would have a different dimension, when one discovers it, through the rite, the symbols and the accompaniment of the community. No magic, no mystery, but yes, with the heart and an open mind, towards a commitment to change, without resentment, without grudges, correcting the past, living the present.
I keep reflecting and I find the text of 1 Peter 3:21:
"For you, all this is a symbol of Baptism that now saves you, which does not consist in washing the dirt of the body, but in the commitment to God of a clean conscience; for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "
Here, take my ministry flight!
Women and men within the Church, we have been baptized, the same rite, the same symbols (oil, candle, water). Not to "discuss" equality between men and women, and less to generate competition with male clergy.
It is a pity, the amount of ink that has run, teaching, about Baptism, as something magical, obligatory and necessary for salvation, that purifies, and cleans, making the Church, a board of refuge against evil, as a lighter , losing the "honor and glory to God", that as daughters and sons of the Godhead, we must announce him from the depths of our being.
It is impossible, without making a personal change, from within, the grace is automatically, without any personal effort, saying only: I believe, I accept, amen. The first time I met with myself, unraveling these tangles of patriarchal doctrine, was living in the midst of my Elder Brothers, the indigenous community Arhuaca. In the fullness of my youth, I traveled to them, to "save them", because saving them, even though I was one, saved my soul, according to what they had told me. It was something, nothing more than reality. They were, they who taught me, how to organize and live in community.
Picking up the threads, given to us by Vatican II, I would like to take advantage of them to try to weave a Baptismal Theology, with the eyes of a woman. It has been the sacrament of Baptism, which elevates my dignity as a daughter of God and as a woman, from the moment I accept and found myself in Christ, in full transformation:
"And it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live in the body, I live by my faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself to death for me. "Galatians 2:20
To accept Baptism is to accept it, not only as suffering and death, but to live it in its Paschal dimension, and to proclaim the Gospel, mission that does not exclude, nor marginalize, nor by race, nationality, condition of social class and less by sex (Marcos 7: 24-30, Gal. 3:28, Col. 3:11). In the Church, as the Body of Christ:
"There are different spiritual gifts, but one Spirit; there are different ministries, but one Lord; There are different activities, but the same God who executes everything in everyone ". 1 Cor 12: 4-6.
According to what we have just seen, there is no reason, for such a marked difference between the common priesthood, (deteriorated, and almost forgotten) and the ministerial priesthood. The fact of having received a call, and a different mandate, does not place me above the common priesthood, nor does it make me more holy. Both the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood are united by Baptism. Why are they separated? Is there not enough demand to share and live with the faithful, the wealth of Baptism?
I can not stay alone, in the rite, and less in the party. I can not do it static, but participatory, community. I feel that from my ministry, I must provoke the discovery of the Divine, make the fear of the "sacred" lose and take seriously the relationship with God Father-Mother, tender and filial, that protects and protects us.
From my feminine priestly ministry, I have to make known and vibrate the ministry of the common priesthood, because this is not a second class state, let alone pass unnoticed. When this is understood and lived, the meaning of the Church becomes stronger. The Church is democratized, breaking hierarchical, clerical and patriarchal schemes.
"But everything is done by the same and unique Spirit, distributing to each one as he wishes. As the body, being one, has many members, and the members, being many form one body, so also Christ. All of us, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, we have been baptized in one Spirit to form one body, and we have drunk a single Spirit. 1Cor 12: 11-13.
We have been taught that by Baptism all the baptized, women and men are: priests, prophets and administrators (kings). Peter, in his 1 Peter: 2: 9 has no qualms in reaffirming it when he says:
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and an acquired people to proclaim the wonders of the one who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
These words of Peter, are taken up by the Church, in his Catechism (4) in the number 783, where it says:
" Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father has anointed with the Holy Spirit and has constituted him" Priest, Prophet and King ". The entire People of God participates in these three functions of Christ and has the responsibilities of mission and service that derive from them (cf. RH 18-21). "
As a woman, I feel very honored, for having been called to the ministerial priesthood, called, that has not been made for me because I am a woman, but because I belong to the people of God. Call to exercise a service within the Church, within the most needy communities, in a society and culture like the current one, which challenges us to live in dignity and honesty the Gospel.
All my life, by family and formation I have served the Church. I felt the call, I did not attend it, until it was the community, with which I had been sharing, through prayer and biblical reflection, the one that asked me for the service. "We want a Eucharist, the Father does so much, he does not come ...", "My mother, she is dying, she needs the anointing of the sick ... I do not get a priest, because those that I have looked for, the one is in the University and the other He says it does not belong to his parish. "" Why do not you exercise? I'm not orderly, it was my answer.
It is the Community, the one that lives and knows their needs, it is they who want and must exercise the common priesthood. In the common priesthood lies the Church, she is the guardian by tradition and faith, the depository of the Truth. So far, they do not do it, because they have not been taught, they do not know it. They are not taught, for fear of losing power. They are the ones who must be administrators of the "goods" of the Church and not those who exercise the ministerial priesthood. That is why my ministerial priesthood is a service, it is not a range of authority and power.
"And whoever wants to be the first to become a servant of all. Because the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many "Mark 10: 44-45.
The mission of the ministerial priesthood, whether exercised by men or women, is very clear, creating fraternal relations in Peace and Reconciliation, far from the bonds of power, linked to politics and economy. Mostly based on serving!
Service in the Church is not obedience to constitutions, norms, nor canons. Service, as commitment and commitment within the Church, both in the common priesthood and in the ministerial priesthood, is not paper. It is new, creative, always new, as it is and should be the announcement of the Good News.
Vatican II, summons us and urges us to live the baptismal triad, in the following way, in LG 34:
"Since Christ Jesus, supreme and eternal Priest, wants to continue his testimony and his service through the laity, he vivifies them with his Spirit and impels them incessantly to every good and perfect work. For those whom he associates intimately with his life and Their mission also makes them share in their priestly office in order to exercise spiritual worship for the glory of God and the salvation of men. Therefore, the laity, as consecrated to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are admirably called and endowed, so that in them the most bountiful fruits of the Spirit may always be produced. "
Without excluding, without marginalizing, without misogyny, without homophobia, without despising and rejecting, the most important message in the mission of being a priest, prophet, administrator (king) assigned to men and women is equality between women and men, to reach fulfill the wish of our Heavenly Father-Mother:
"May they all be ONE, as you, Father, are in me and I in you; may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. I gave them the glory that you gave me to be ONE as we are. " John 17: 21-22.
So they present themselves to me; obstacles, prohibitions, repressions, ridicule and discredit, I assume with energy and courage my ministerial priesthood, supported by the phrase of Peter and John:
"Do you judge whether it is right in God's eyes that we obey you rather than him? Judge it. We can not shut up what we have seen and heard "Acts 4: 19-20.
Do not be afraid, to show the Glory of God, do not hide it, do not deny it. Show your Glory, is to give thanks, is to bless, and praise. Let us live our Baptism, either as a common priesthood or as a ministerial priesthood, which dignifies and makes us shine, we are a divine spark, we are the reflection of the Glory of God! 2nd Cor. 3: 7-8.
- Father Gaspar Astete, sj Catechism of the Christian Doctrine. p. 101. 6a. ed. Rionegro, April 1980.
- Idem. p. twenty-one
- Idem. p. 103
- ) Catechism of the Catholic Church
* Roman Catholic Presbyter.