“Ontological Difference”

You remind our classmates of your “ontological difference.”
          (All the men in our class are ordained, and surely, 
          they are already aware of their ontological difference.)
It had to be stated to ensure we women understand: we are different.

Yes, we are different.

I am made different by my attunement to the pain of my students
My students who know what it means to be 
overlooked and 
They raise their fists to the heavens, and I raise mine, 
and we consecrate our battered dignity.

I am made different by the suffering of the women who come to 
Me with stories of belittlement and abuse
Of mansplaining and assumptions of ignorance
At the hands of your kind.
They lay their lands in mine, and 
we bless each other.

I am made different by the exclusion 
That is also the exclusion of 
Our Lord who was moved to the margins 
Because of how he practiced loving 
Those who the powers said are not to be loved
Or included.

Our excluded Lord lays his hands on me, 
Consecrating me, his 
Wound marks touching mine:
Our ontological difference.

Madeline Jarrett, MDiv, is a doctoral student in Systematic Theology at Boston College. Her research interests include theological anthropology, feminist theologies, embodied experiences of grace and limitation, and disability theology. 

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