I was planning for this to be the last essay I ever wrote, and since we’re into “any day now” territory, and since I’ve had just about enough of these lesbian pagan witch nuns and their “female ordination” horse diarrhea, I’m dropping the bomb. And yes, it’s a bomb. I’ve delayed on writing this particular essay because it is really, really hardcore. Very, very advanced stuff. At least it is today. Five hundred years ago it was probably common knowledge, but today I don’t think there are very many people who understand this concept. I explained it to a traddy-inclined seminarian recently, and even he didn’t know. And, all of the essays I see around the blogosphere being written about “female ordination” (there’s no such thing) never get anywhere near this concept, instead relying almost exclusively on the “Our Lord only ordained men in the Upper Room” argument, which is true, but it is lacking. WHY did Our Lord only ordain men? A two year old sees the need for that corollary to be answered. You can’t just leave it hanging. WHY is the ordained priesthood, now and forever, exclusive to men?
Not only does this question have an answer, it is an incredibly beautiful answer that needs to be shouted from the mountaintops in this time like never, ever before. The answer involves the concepts of gender, marriage and sexuality; the very areas of culture under profound, direct demonic attack; the very areas of culture upon which civilization lives or dies. And the answer resides, as it has for 1980 years, in the Mass.
First, let’s talk about gender. God, in Himself, contains both masculine and feminine. GASP! God contains a feminine nature? Of course He does. Goodness. If God possessed no feminine nature, then that would mean that women contained a nature that was completely outside of God. How could God create something which He Himself did not contain? Well, you might say, God doesn’t have an evil nature, but evil exists. No. Evil is merely the absence of good. Evil is not extant, just as cold is the mere absence of heat, and darkness is the mere absence of light. Femininity is an extant nature. Femininity is NOT the absence of masculinity. Femininity is an existential reality unto itself, and therefore God contains it in Himself.
Let’s define masculinity and femininity with two axioms:
The essence of masculinity is INITIATION.
The essence of femininity is RESPONSE.
In all aspects of life, from sociology to courtship to sexual intercourse itself, men are vocationally the initiators – or at least they SHOULD BE. Men lead. Men make decisions. Men command armies and wage war. Men initiate courtship. Men are the head of the household. Even the male anatomy is initiatory. The man introduces his body into that of his wife.
Females are the receptors and responders in human existence. Females listen, and respond. Females follow. Females render assistance and are responsive helpmates. Females respond, in the affirmative or the negative, to the courtship advances of men. Females receive the love of their husbands and respond by submitting themselves to their husbands. The female anatomy is a physical receptacle for the body of her husband, which then returns to him from the same physical space the fruit of their mutual love – a child.
God the Father gives Himself fully to God the Son. God the Son fully receives the love of God the Father and then fully returns it. This intercourse of infinite love being perpetually given, received and returned yields a third – God the Holy Ghost. Thus, God, in His infinite capacity as both INITIATOR and RECEIVER/RESPONDER within Himself, clearly contains BOTH masculine and feminine nature. God isn’t like men and women. Men and women are like God – created in His image, both male and female.
So why do we call God “He” exclusively? Because in the God-man relationship, God is the INITIATOR and mankind is the RESPONDER. The relative disproportion here is so great that it can be said to be practically infinite. God created and perpetuates in existence the entire universe JUST SO MAN CAN EXIST. God became incarnate JUST SO THE BROKEN RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND MAN COULD BE RESTORED. God died on the Cross JUST SO HIS LOVE FOR MAN COULD BE MANIFESTED TO THE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE EXTENT. God comes to us in the Eucharist SO THAT WE NEED NEVER BE SEPARATED FROM HIM. Initiation, initiation, initiation.
Every man’s life is nothing more than responding to desperate, pleading love overtures and nuptial initiation of God. We either say yes, or we say no. And like the Gentleman He is, He never coerces. He is there, infinitely powerful, infinitely virile and infinitely reaching out to us, but at the same time infinitely meek (meekness is power under control, remember), infinitely gentle and patiently persistent in His advances.
BUT, there is exactly ONE MOMENT wherein God, so utterly consumed and infinitely condescending in His love for mankind, actually goes so far as to permit man to take the role of initiator (masculine), and God Himself voluntarily, for just a moment, RESPONDS TO THE INITIATING ACT OF MAN. Yes, God makes His feminine nature manifest before mankind. That moment of total condescension of God to man is in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, specifically at the moment of consecration of the Host and the Chalice.
In the traditional, pre-Vatican II rites, such as the Tridentine, Ambrosian, and Byzantine rites, at the moment of consecration, when the priest, in an act of masculine initiation, is calling God to the altar, both at the consecration of the Host and at the consecration of the Chalice, the priest MUST bend over the altar, stare intently at the Host or the Chalice, and rest his elbows on the altar. In this posture, and this posture only, does the priest then say the words that actually effect the change of the bread and the wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
I was received into the Church at Easter 2007 in a Novus Ordo parish. I found and attended a Tridentine Mass for the first time in July of 2008. At the first Tridentine Mass I attended I was lost had my nose in the missal and missed the consecration. I didn’t see it. I was looking down, and only looked up at the elevation when the server rang the bell. At the SECOND Tridentine Mass I attended, I resolved to LOOK and SEE the Mass and not worry so much about the missal that Sunday. When I saw the priest bend over and put his elbows down on the altar, hoo boy, I was never looking back. By the grace of God I instantly recognized what was happening, and a whole lot of Catholic theology fell squarely into place.