Friday, May 5, 2023

¿THE GOSPEL, KIDNAPPED? By Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP

 Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea ARCWP*

This is a question I have been asking myself. When I was studying in a Catholic school, I remember that in religion classes what they taught us was "One Hundred Lessons of Sacred History".
And the Gospel? Humm
I was fortunate to attend the classes of Fr. Carlos Bravo sj. (r.i.p.d.) in the Ecclesiastical Faculties of the Jesuits, -Bogotá- to whom I owe much of my spiritual formation. 
Carlos' classes have left an open world for me to continue investigating, to grow in my formation and above all in the search for the Divinity and most important thing, to learn to share, from my ministry to make known the Tenderness, care, and love with which the Divinity protects us.
With him, I learned the true value of my Baptism! "I am God's daughter, created in his image and likeness" (Genesis 1:26).
With much pain and sadness, I later found a decree that ignores the text of Genesis, known as the Gratian Decree (jurist) of the year 1140 that says: "Women are not the image of God" and must go with their heads covered when they are in front of a man. This Decree influences and transcends the Canons of the Roman Catholic Church, at present, until today, such as Canon 1024 which says: "Only the baptized male receives the sacred ordination validly".
Both the Gratian Decree and Canon 1024 are the fundamental bases for the Roman Catholic Church to deny women the right to announce the Good News through the presbyterial ministry. Message delivered to us: Matthew 28:5-10
We, Roman Catholic Presbyterian Women, reject, protest, and request that these norms, which seek to marginalize and marginalize us, be abolished, discarded, and annulled. 
We, Roman Catholic women priests, do not pretend to imitate the men, in their clothing, in their celebrations, or in building temples, which today we see closed.
Our priestly ministry is different, it is a service in Community, announcing the Good News with the participation of women, men, the elderly, and children. The Good News is not exclusive to men.
We thank the Bishop of Rome for his kind and delicate words of a gentleman towards us women. We are not asking him to give us jobs in offices. It is urgent to announce the Good News, realizing the miracle of the Eucharist: "I have come to bring life, and that they may have it more abundantly" John 10:10. These are strong words inviting us to be human.
We want more Gospel and fewer rules, sanctions, inhuman disciplines, scorn, and marginalization. We want a Gospel of justice, peace, tenderness, welcome, and protection, not to seek fame and be overbearing.
Women, the time has come to announce the Good News, let us unite, let us close ranks, and let us fight until the announcement of the Good News is today and always.


*Roman Catholic Presbyterian

Translated with (free version)

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Accessing the New by Elaine Pfaff ARCWP

Elaine signs her Ordination Certificate after being ordained in ARCWP

A short year ago I identified my heart's desire as sharing life in the unfinished Followers of Ignatian spirituality and students of contemporary authors such as Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer  will recognize the practice of stating one's intention at the outset of a meditation, prayer period, pilgrimage,  project , or commitment.  To be in touch with one's deepest and most encompassing desire is revelatory , visionary in nature, and bears within it the uncanny power to manifest.  Of course it is the Mystery we call God Who implants and empowers such envisioning ~ until what you see is what you get!

I was seeing unfinished rev business and my desire to share life as the unfinished person I am - engaged in the messiness of becoming a reciprocal giver.  And so I journeyed another transformative year in September 2021 with a long cherished Community we call Mystics Anonymous.  My heart's desire emerged  front and center as I was surprisingly given  assuredness in the midst of unknowing; enough hope from the midst of imperfections.  And as though to further mark the time,  I was being readied for a delicious discovery of an article subtitled “Theology for an Unfinished Universe”, encountered by chance the following June after closing the year for summer break.

So, what happened this time as I stood inside my vulnerability again as an earthling in the making?  The Universe set off a constant stream of chatter – synchronicities and sweet nothings that wrapped my loving family and communities.  I dreamed again of the divine feminine; my husband dreamed symbols of my ordination, soon to come at our annual meeting and retreat in Fort Meyers.  I would become a deacon in July, a priest in October of 2022.  After decades of moving and being deacon and unofficially sanctioned priest in several communities, I would take on the new identity as a formally ordained woman, like  my sister deacons and priests in the women's  priest movement. 

 On the way home after the conference in Florida, I passed by an airport coffee shop with the unlikely name “Chalice Cafe.”  The connecting flight was on time for the first time in a month.  Now that's new!  And the most visceral sign of affirmation was in our friendly shuttle driver.  She announced her name - “Nova, “ she said.  “It means new.”

My heart's desire for 2022-2023 is to see what's new and to engage in it.  

Elaine Pfaff  is a spiritual director.  She lives with her husband of 54 years in North Carolina near two adult children and 6 grandchildren.  Her ministry has involved home church liturgies, various retreat  design and facilitation.    A member of Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community and Sophia Inclusive Community.  She is active in social justice.    

Sunday, April 30, 2023

“New Beginnings” by Richard Rohr


New Beginnings


Richard Rohr honors how painful transformation can be and reminds us to be patient with ourselves and the process: 

The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But the mystery of transformation more often happens not when something new beginsbut when something old falls apart. The pain and chaos of something old falling apart invite the soul to listen at a deeper level, and sometimes force the soul to go to a new place. Most of us would never go to new places in any other way. The mystics use many words to describe this chaos: fire, dark night, death, emptiness, abandonment, trial, the Evil One. Whatever it is called, it does not feel good, and it does not feel like God. 

We will normally do anything to keep the old thing from falling apart, yet this is when we need patience and guidance, and the freedom to let go instead of tightening our controls and certitudes. Perhaps Jesus is describing just this phenomenon when he says, “It is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14). Not accidentally, he mentions this narrow gate and hard road right after teaching the Golden Rule. He knows how much “letting go” it takes to “treat others as you would like them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12). 

Spiritual transformation always includes a disconcerting reorientation. It can either help people to find new meaning or it can cause people to close down and slowly turn bitter. The difference is determined precisely by the quality of our inner life, our practices, and our spirituality. Change happens, but transformation is always a process of letting go, and living in the confusing, shadowy, transitional space for a while. Eventually, we are spit up on a new and unexpected shore. We can see why Jonah in the belly of the whale is such an important figure for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. 

In moments of insecurity and crisis, shoulds and oughtsdon’t really help. They just increase the shame, guilt, pressure, and likelihood of backsliding into unhealthy patterns. It’s the deep yeses that carry us through to the other side. It’s those deeper values we strongly support—such as equality and dignity for all—that allow us to wait it out. Or it’s someone in whom we absolutely believe and to whom we commit. In plain language, love wins out over guilt any day. 

It is sad that we settle for the short-term effectiveness of shaming people and shutting them down, instead of the long-term life benefits of true transformation. But then, we are a culture of productivity and efficiency, not terribly patient or even open to growth. God is clearly much more patient—and, finally, much more effective, patiently supporting our inner transformation through all of life’s transitions.  


Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder (Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2020), 84–85.