Because I thought this topic was important enough to be on two blogs, I hope you all do not mind a re-post
The Vocation of The Priest's Wife and The Three Marys
Because for many months, I was close to some Ordinariate priests and met and talked with some of the wives when I was in England, even briefly, I observed a key to the mystery of the married Ordinariate priest which I would like to share. I have also met other women in the role of "priest wives".
The Catholic people on the whole are not accustomed to the vicar's wife. Indeed, when we lived in Petersfield years ago, it took the parish several months to accept a married ex-Anglican, now Catholic priest for a pastor. The objections were all based on ignorance and prejudice and in the end, the priest and his wife were not only happily accepted, but greatly loved.
The problem with the normal person in the pew is that these Catholics do not understand that if the husband, who is a Catholic priest has a vocation, his wife has a vocation as well. I understand this vocation of the priest's wife, which is more than being the wife of a man who happens to be a priest, and a mother to his children.
The vocation of the priest's wife consists of the greatest sacrifice a woman can give to the Church, her husband to take on another Bride, the Bride of Christ, which is the Church
The priest's wife is not the first woman in the priest's life She is the third woman in the priest's life, and yet, a great support to his ministry, a point to which I shall return.
The First Woman in the heart of the married priest is the Bride of Christ, the one, true, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. He is her protector, her guide, her spouse as he is alter Christus.
The Second Woman in the heart of the married priest is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, the Mother of us all. The priest takes her guidance and love and honors her above all women.
The Third Woman is his wife. And, this wife is the servant of the servant. If she is a stay-at-home mom, she organizes the life of the priest so that he can maximize his day of service to the Church. She is not first, ever, and must be scheduled, and disciplined.
If the Third Woman has a job out of necessity, in order to help support the priest and family, as so many now must after losing their pensions, houses, and other goods by converting to the Catholic Church, even having to go back to work to make ends meet, this job is the gift she gives to not only the family, but to the Church, easing the financial burden of a diocese or the Ordinariate.
If the Third Woman is called to be active in the daily workings of the Church, especially if the children are grown and gone, her relationship with the parish will demand her time and gifts, and she will support the work of her husband as he sees fit. I know one priest's wife who does so many things that she is just as busy as he is.
A priest's wife has been called by God to give her husband to the Church, and to the world. She knows that she is called to serve, and to sacrifice the normal comforts of married life.
She will not be rich, or have the normal aspirations of a married woman in the world of the laity, because even though she is lay, she has a vocation to be in the world, and not of the world in a direct manner.
Her world is one like the women who served Christ and His apostles, so that they could live out the vocation of the apostolic call.
I greatly honor the wives of the priests of the Ordinariate and other priest's wives who have come in via different manners into the Catholic Church. May we honor them as we would honor those women at the foot of the Cross.
Like the married women, a mother of a priest sacrifices the time and attention of a son, grandchildren and all the protection and love a son would give to a mother is he were not married to the Bride of Christ. Mothers of priests should understand priest's wives from the perspective of giving up a natural relationship for a supernatural one, as these sons and these husbands do not belong to us, but to God. "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary [the wife] of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." We call these women, Mary Salome, Mary wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, the Three Marys, or the Three Maries. Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee and mother of the "Sons of Thunder," James and John, aided Christ and His apostles and stood watching the horror of the Passion and Death of Our Lord. Like Mary the Mother of God, she is one of my models These women ministered to Christ, set aside their own status, their own resources, their own lives for the sake of the Gospel. So, too, do our sisters who are the wives of our Catholic priests.