From Penn State accountant major and partier to priest, the Rev. Canice McMullen, OSB, shared his story of conversion and what it means to show priestly love for the bride of Christ on Oct.18.
The talk, which began at 7:30 p.m., was one of the weekly Wednesday’s Women at the Well sponsored by Women’s Ministry at Franciscan University and was entitled “Priestly Love for the Bride of Christ.”
After sharing an entertaining story of encountering his parish priest after having been away, McMullen explained what he called “priestly love for the bride of Christ” — how a marriage is a covenantal relationship, which is the exact opposite of a contract where you try to get as much as possible and give very little in return.
In a marriage, he said, you give everything and hold nothing back. Love requires a relationship between the lover and the beloved, and it is love that unites them. The opposite of love is selfishness, and people who are selfish are often alone.
When God made Adam, explained McMullen, he said that man should not be alone and then created from Adam’s own bone woman, and the two become one flesh. That is why when Adam first sees Eve, he exclaims in Genesis 2:23, “At last this one is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!”
McMullen said that as a husband gives himself fully to his wife and holds nothing back in the physical act of consummating the marriage, he physically gives his seed to her and the woman receives it; nine months later the two become one flesh by the beautiful gift of a child.
Christ is the new Adam, according to McMullen, and gives himself fully to his bride the Church, and the two become one flesh every time the priest raises the host to heaven and says, “This is my body, and this is my blood.”
“It is a humbling experience,” said McMullen.
Before closing, McMullen addressed the women present and said, “In a special way, you embody the feminine beauty as the bride of the Church.” He continued by saying that “feminine nature is bridal nature.” The nature of the Church, which is the bride of Christ, is feminine because she is motherly, receptive and caring.
Freshman Sydni Cain shared that she “loved how he compared the priesthood and religious life to marriage. I had never thought of it that way before … with the friends, dating, engagement and marriage periods and all that. Very insightful.”
Olivia Hoijarvi, freshman, said, “This was the first Women’s Ministry event I’ve been to, and I absolutely loved it. Fr. Canice has an amazing story to share and is such a humble father to us.”