So there I was, standing in line, waiting to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation (known in some circles as “Confession”). I was cogitating on my sins of course, but also regurgitating a conversation I’d had on the drive over, one filled with angry questions for my otherwise beloved Church: Why doesn’t the Church seem to care that the third largest religious affiliation in the country is “lapsed Catholic”? Why have priests been excommunicated for supporting the notion of women priests or married priests, or even simply for blessing gay people, while bishops that protected known pedophiles for decades have not been? Why are nuns being chided for their work with the poor and desire for social justice?

And then I looked up. I was standing under Station Eight of the Stations of the Cross: Jesus speaks to the women. Five words. And I realized my true sin. I have not trusted God to work through His Church, to bring change and healing. How did I get from Station Eight to recognition of sin? Easy. Jesus spoke to women. That doesn’t seem all that revolutionary now, but it sure was then. Women were considered chattel, property. For a man to speak to a woman — well, it was tantamount to speaking to a cow. The Jewish word for widow literally means “unable to speak.” Not due to grief or anything, but because a widow has no husband, no man, to speak for her. Yet Jesus spoke to the women. And He listened to them, too.

And if that is true, then anything is. Maybe things need to get to crisis levels before the Church changes its views on homosexuality, birth control and the like. Maybe this time of waiting — this Advent — is necessary to effect change. Who knows? Certainly not me. But what I can do is trust that God will work His will through the Church. It is not up to me to worry about it; it is for me to trust. So trust I will.

I guess the women of Station Eight weren’t the only women Jesus spoke to, huh?

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