I cried a lot this week. For one thing, I had to make the decision between streaming my ordination for friends and family, and having a dear friend vest me during the ceremony. This person works for a Catholic school in a high profile job and if they are seen at my ordination, they could—and probably would—be fired. I talked it over with them and knew almost immediately what I would do. Still, I wanted to pray about it. After we ended our Zoom call, I silenced myself and asked the Lord for guidance. Within a few moments, God's answer bubbled up from deep in my chest: “I want them to vest you.” "Okay," I said. I sat with God a few more minutes, allowing God to console me. Then, I texted my friend to let them know my decision: both God and I simply cannot imagine having anyone else perform this ritual.
Another thing that troubled me this week is that I still don’t have music for my first Mass. Because I am outside the institution, no musicians that play for the Catholic Church will touch me. One of the music ministers in another denomination had agreed to work with me, but then she experienced a tragic loss in her family (please keep her in your prayers—she needs them). I then got another name through the Church where my first Mass will be held, and I reached out to her. It will be wonderful if she can help me (and I hope she can!), but I realized that I had to just let go of any attachments to things being a certain way. If I don’t have music for my first Mass, then I don’t have music: this is what excommunication looks like.
Also, I went back to working full-time this week. I was *very* blessed, privileged really, to take four weeks of leave from my place of employment to focus on ordination weekend. Formation. Sacramental preparation. Preaching. Liturgical design. Writing. Meetings with Clergy. Event planning. Promotions and marketing. Prayer. Reflection. Sleep...glorious sleep. For four weeks, I got a taste of what it is like to be a full-time priest—to have a man's experience, frankly—and it was difficult to give it up.
Of course, none of these things are earth-shattering by any means, especially in context of the immense hardship we witness in our world each day. Still, in order to prevent them from taking a toll, I have to be honest and acknowledge that they hurt me. This path is lonely and hard and often sad, and some days I have to hang my head and grieve all the ways I am punished, both large and small, simply because I am a woman.
At the same time, I am undeterred. God fortifies me for this road, and like Isaiah in today’s scripture, I willingly accept my punishment on behalf of women and girls everywhere. Someday, we will have justice, for that is what God has promised us. Therefore, no matter what anyone says or does to me, I stand tall with God at my side: "I have set my face like flint, and I shall not be put to shame.”