Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why do we look like we are getting married?

We recently celebrated as a parish our First Holy Communion Celebration. The girls were beautiful all in white and the boys were so handsome in their coat and ties. One of the little boys told his grandmother that he felt like he was getting married. Ahh, that was the point. Because indeed he was, as a member of the Church, the bride, he was getting married to the bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
I had several conversations with the girls about the significance of the veil because they did not want to wear them. I had a few ask why they had to wear white and why did they have to wear a dress. I sign of our times I suppose, but this was non-negotiable. The significance of the white dress and veil means everything when it comes to the visible sign of an invisible reality here. The white historically signifies the purity of the soul, while the veil is a sign of the mystery. Yet in this day and age we no longer want a mystery. In this day of instant gratification, our kids have to know everything. A mystery is lost on them.
In the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies was separate by a veil. It was mysterious, only the High Priest could enter and tend to the duties of keeping the incense burning and the candles lit. The bride was always hidden behind her veil, to protect her innocence and to present some mystery of what was to be revealed to the bridegroom on the wedding night. The bride was a gift, to be slowly revealed so the beauty of her person could be explored and discovered by her husband, her lover. This is our relation to Christ. We as the Church are the Bride, He the Bridegroom. He gives us his body to be consumed and this consummation binds us to Christ and we become one. This occurs with each Mass, it becomes for us a bridal banquet. He makes the supreme sacrifice for us, and then enters into us as a bridegroom enters his bride. It is for this reason that the priest, in persona christi, is a male. God is a He, Christ is a He, priests are male, He's, in the Catholic Church.
The male-female relationship is finely and beautifully apparent in the Catholic Church. There is a reason for this and it is most visible in the liturgy of the Mass. It is in the Mass when we witness the consecration and as presented above, Christ presents himself to His bride and the two become one body to go out and do the work Christ was called to do for God. Sadly these roles are constantly muddied and disordered by a secular world that insists that girls can only be equal or as good as boys if they can prove they can do the same "jobs" boys can do. It is unfortunate that girls are not encouraged to see the beauty in themselves, as girls, and to accept by the virtues of patience and obedience the gift of their femininity.
It saddens to me to see the girls in jeans and pants at Mass. I wonder at what point did we, as a society, lose the allure of being a girl. A girl that wore dresses and liked the way she felt all dressed up, "pretty as a picture." Oh I see girls wearing makeup, but now a days she looks like she might be working a street corner, it is not feminine, it sends the wrong message, and then she comes to Mass dressed like this. This is the devil's secular world at work here. Instead of fostering the positive attributes of the feminine mystique, our society has denegrated the fact of being female, which is what God created, to something that is looked down upon. Being feminine is seen as a weakness.
I pray for our society, but I pray for our girls. I pray that they will see the gift of being feminine for what it is. It is a gift to our counterpart, the masculine, the male. We must step back at some point and see that God creates for a reason and what He creates is reasonable. There is a place for the girls, but we must see that there is a place for the boys as well and it is not always our place, as girls, to be in their place, as boys. Embrace being a girl, being feminine. Rejoice in that which the Lord has made.

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