A Dream Suggestion

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Rocky Mountain National Park - Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

One expressed aim of this Synod is “to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be.” (Vatican Handbook 1.3).  

As the path along which God’s People walk together, synodality grew out of an understanding of Jesus ‘the Way’ (Jn 14:6) and of his disciples as ‘followers of the Way’ (Ac 9:2).

When the Apostles felt their ministry was tipping in the wrong direction, the Spirit moved them to create the diaconate (Ac 6). This is the first indication that what came to be known as the Sacrament of Holy Orders enjoys a secret sauce not tasted in the other Sacraments — elasticity. Can it continue to stretch? Signs abound that the future will look back upon our current crisis as an historic growth spurt.

The Apostles of today need to breathe deep, listen, and expand the Church. Their authority is not about maintaining a status quo; it’s creative. It’s also protective, not like fencing around a corral but like guardrails on an open road—the Way.  

Suggestion, to dream boldly, ponder a possibility: “we’ve only just begun.” 

Evolution is mobilized around fixed points, often not the ones we think. Evolution moves around carbon. Holy Orders moves around charity, namely God’s definitive gift of self. All the Sacraments have evolved, but Holy Orders is the only one that boasts of degrees of participation. Only three? Is the Church done evolving — especially regarding new ministries for women?

Important as it is to defend the tradition of the Church, we cannot lose sight of the possibility that the Church may still be young. New cosmologies deriving from physics and biology permit us to look at our institutions as incredibly recent newborns on the scene. 

Discerning Deacons has set the stage for us to dream big. Like young folks on the cusp of life, we’re “watching for signs along the way” (Carpenters). 

How differently we dream when we see God’s self-giving against deep time. “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the wilderness I make a Way….” (Is 43:19).

Fr. Michael Hickin

Share this Article

Endorser
“It is time for our Church to acknowledge the role of countless women serving the people of God in positions of ministry and leadership.”
Endorser
“It is time for the Church to heed the Spirit’s voice, recognizing women’s call to the diaconate and allow the Spirit to restore and renew the Body of Christ so that it may fully live into its identity of missionary discipleship.”
M. Therese Lysaught, Ph.D., Theologian
Theologian, Doctor of Philosophy - Loyola University Chicago and the Pontifical Academy for Life (Chicago, IL/Madison, WI)
Witness
“I feel that the Catholic Church as it is structured is not what Jesus envisioned for his followers—so many of them were women of his day. What happened?”
Joan D. Martin
Ignatian Volunteer Corps Member, parishioner at New Roads Catholic Community in Belmont, MA

Receive Our Newsletter

This is the hub where we share relevant news, events and opportunities to participate in the work. 
*We will send the newsletter only once each week, and we will never share or sell your information.