Monday, August 24, 2009

A Woman's Role in the Church

The following is a guest blog post that I was asked to write for my husband's blog Salvation is an Adventure.

What is the role of women in the Catholic church? When Tim and I started discussing this question- and he suggested I share my thoughts on the topic- my first thought was that I was not qualified to offer my opinions. After all, I am not very active at church and do little to contribute to the ministries offered. There was a time, years ago when my older children were toddlers, that I spent as much time at church as I did at home. I was the facilitator for our young mother's faith sharing group, I was on the adult faith formation committee, I sat on the board for the women's organization, I helped out with the ministry team for our parish Bible study, I planned children's parties, and volunteered for extra projects as they came up. As the years passed and our family grew it got harder to be involved at church and my participation in the activities there dwindled.
As I thought more about what I believe a woman's role in the church is, I realized, that though I am no longer as "hand's on" in my ministry and I have no real theological training, I do have something to say on the subject and I am grateful to share my thoughts.
I believe women have an amazing array of things to offer to our church. My contributions in the past, as a lay person, were certainly worthwhile. My volunteer work and involvement in the ministries of our parish family were invaluable to the building up of our church community. The support I offered to my church, as well as the support I received while I was involved there, helped to nurture my faith and the faith of others. I grew in my own relationship with Christ through the service I offered to my parish. This is one important role of women in the church. Acting as lay people, supporting our churches and communities through volunteer work and support ministries is a wonderful way for women, who are naturally nurturing and caring, to take an active role in the church.
My role in the church is now in a very different place. Though I did initially think my inactivity at the parish level nullified my participation in this dialogue, I have since come to realize it does not. My role is different now, but no less valuable or meaningful. Over the years, God has called me to another way of building up His kingdom. This role takes place, not at the parish level, but in my home. I am no longer sitting on committees or planning parish events. Instead, I am, each and every day, nurturing the faith of my own family. I am the heart of our domestic church and that, I can see, is just as valuable a role in the Church as all my volunteer work in the past. As a wife and mother I am so blessed to be able to share my own beliefs and faith with my children and my husband. I have the opportunity to watch my children grow in their own relationship with God and to play a role in guiding them closer to Christ everyday. I have the chance to support my husband in his faith and to allow him an opportunity to contribute to our parish as youth minister. I am an example of Christ's love alive in my family everyday as I care for my children and my home. It seems these days, this role of women is either unappreciated, or worse, unnoticed; but the reality is, the world still needs women to serve God by serving their families. I see families breaking down and losing the focus they once had, and I am saddened by the consequences of it on the world as a whole. Seeing children led astray and families dragged down by sinfulness I wonder how much better our church would be served if more women were willing to forego the glamour and glory of serving others outside of their home for the drudgery and hard work of giving of themselves for the good of their families right at home.
The role of women in the church cannot be easily defined but wives and mothers must be willing to start at home. We cannot truly serve God unless we do it through our vocation as the hearts of our home. The bottom line, as I see it is, that both women and men must serve God in whatever capacity He asks of us. Sometimes we may be asked to get involved at church and sometimes we may be asked to serve Him right in our home but either way, our goal in life needs to be to glorify Him in all we do and to let His love shine through us each and everyday.

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