“Mrs. Bishop” and the Theology of “but of course!”

I’m starting in the middle and steering you here: via “Mrs. Bishop” and the Theology of “but of course!”.

“Let’s leave aside all of the giddy “yes I was ordained and then made a bishop by the super-coolest of the cool bishops” anti-establishment boring-ese bits — and also the question as to whether she is being used as a handy stooge by bishops too cowardly to proclaim themselves (because sneaking about is so very Holy) and be forced from their powerful positions. Here’s what jumped out at me:

“I had felt called by God to priesthood since I was a small child,” she says simply, “and I wanted to be a priest before I died.”

That’s four I’s in two sentences, and not a “Jesus” in sight, in the whole long piece, except as necessary to provide the vaguest of explanations for our teaching on ordination.

Once again, as with the lady from Long Island, there is a great deal of pride and self-reference in all of this. Beyond that, the idea that “I felt called and wanted this before I died, because I am a prophet” makes her theology terribly suspect.

She calls herself “a prophet” but prophets generally don’t want any part of whatever it is they’re being called to. If they eventually find joy in their obedience, their first response is usually, “oh, hell no.”

Theologically, she is missing the whole idea — the Christ-promulgated idea — that you can’t always get what you want, but (if you try sometimes, though obedience is hard) you get what you need.

I am thinking of Moses, reluctantly leading the Hebrews out of Egypt and through the desert, only to be denied the Promised Land.

I am thinking of Saint Gemma Galgani, who certainly felt “called” to become a Passionist nun yet never made it into the convent. Rather, when it became clear that what she was being offered a calling of unquenchable thirst, she discovered her consolation in the self-abnegation into which she had been invited; the calling-within-a-calling, so to speak: desire without consummation, except as Christ consumes. “Not my will, but Thine.”

Her calling, in other words, was not to the cloister, as she fervently believed and desired, but to the very Cross, with Christ, and with suffering, too. Because reluctant prophets and those who answer the call to “pick up your Cross and follow me” always do suffer with him, in the end.”

via “Mrs. Bishop” and the Theology of “but of course!”.

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