I dream of the church that Jesus dreamt of. I dream of a church that will not label me a heretic for believing that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. I dream of a church that will welcome all people to the table, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or anything else that would serve as an excuse to say, “No, not you.” I dream of a church that will recognize everyone’s gifts, not just those who meet some misguided criteria. I dream of a church that will include all of God’s people and not just those who are in positions of power. I dream of a church whose leaders will embrace the sensus fidelium and not just the sensus magisterium. I dream of a church that will “seek collaborators in ministry so that we can be animators according to the Spirit rather than dominators according to the world.” I dream of a church that will “renounce forever the appearance and the substance of wealth…avoid[ing] everything that may appear as a…preference to the wealthy and the powerful” and renew the preferential option for the poor. I dream of a church in which the stories of women in Scripture and Christian tradition will be pronounced from the pulpit. I dream of a church where women may proclaim the good news, as Mary of Magdala was first commissioned to do by the risen Christ. I dream of a church in which women and married people are among the ordained clergy. I dream of a church in which women’s vocations are not limited to virginity or motherhood in the eyes of the rule makers. I dream of a church in which feminism is not a four-letter word. I dream of a church in which I no longer have to dream of the church I am dreaming about.
The church I imagine has divorced people receiving communion. The church I imagine does not have male celibate priests preaching about marriage or child rearing to their flock. The church I imagine has a woman priest celebrating Mass and preaching the gospel. The church I imagine is collegial with decision-making shared among its members, clergy & laity alike. The church I imagine practices what it preaches. The church I imagine does not kowtow to the rich among its members. The church I imagine does not have little girls asking, “Why can’t I be a priest?” The church I imagine does not have men and women having to choose between marriage and ordination.
The life I imagine is the life I have been blessed to live. I have been blessed with a loving and supportive family of origin. I have been blessed with friends who have become family and family who have become friends. I have been blessed with a husband who supports me unconditionally. I have been blessed with children and grandchildren. I have been blessed to live in a country where I have been afforded the opportunity to reach goals beyond my wildest dreams. If I were to re-imagine my life, it would look like the life I have lived, with all its ups and downs, all of its good and bad decisions, all of its scars and blemishes, all of its joys and sorrows. The live I imagine is the life I have been blessed to live.