You know most people I grew up with went to some form of Church or other, and yet as we’ve grown up we’ve all rejected mainstream religion. Why is this?
For my own part, although I love a lot of what my religion taught me about Jesus, it did always feel stiflingly patriarchal. All the church leaders were male, the bishop was male; it was the boys who handed around sacrament. Women could not give blessings or hold the priesthood. Only the men could do these things. The idea that the men were the ‘head of the family’ was promoted. In the stories we were told too, there were so few mentions of women. The scriptures abound with tales about the men, but so few references are made to us girls. I felt left out, on many many occasions. Although there was a society for the women, it just seemed to me more like an afterthought to keep the women busy and away from the ‘man’s work’.
All religions are a product of their time, society and location. So perhaps that was all it was. And perhaps if you look at it analytically, you could say that boys always need to feel like they are holding some kind of ‘sword’ in this case, a spiritual sword; the priesthood. And the church recognised this and gave them one. I say this with the wisdom of a mother with two boys…. I get that.
But no matter which way I looked at it, the only role for me in this religion seemed to be that of homemaker. I could be a mother, be a wife, teach a class or two, and that was it. It felt to me like no WISDOM was proscribed to the women. No council was ever sought publicly or in the context of church authority, from women.
As the two daughters of a single mother who worked, this just didn’t fit in with my reality. I saw women as capable leaders, as adept counselors, as wisdom keepers. In fact, when I looked around, most of the women seemed to know a lot more than most of the men. Unsurprisingly, I rejected the model of this church, and went off into the world. It didn’t take me long to find a wonderful man whom I admired, who admired me. Of course naturally we eventually married and had children.
And during my spiritual awakening, which was not begun by, but certainly fuelled by, becoming a mother… I tried to understand God again. This time I felt drawn to the messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje. Here was a woman, a wife, a mother… a young woman like me. Here was a woman who had wisdom; who loved nature, who showed us unconditional love. Here was a deeply spiritual person I could relate to. I began to pray the rosary and to draw closer to the Holy Mother. And as I drew closer to her, I listened as she told me to listen to her Son.
And I revisited Jesus for the third time, now in the context of his Mother, listening again to her earnestness that we listen to his message, the message of Love. Now finally for me, there was a woman in the spiritual world I could look up to. And that changed everything. <3