Sunday, October 14, 2018

Reason no. 13 why I remain Catholic: Feminine Genius

The term "Feminine Genius" was first used by St. John Paul II in his Letter to Women on June 29, 1995.

The Church sees in Mary the highest expression of the "feminine genius" and she finds in her a source of constant inspiration. Through obedience to the Word of God, she accepted her lofty yet not easy vocation as wife and mother in the family of Nazareth. Putting herself at God's service, she also put herself at the service of others: a service of love. 

There is no better example of what it means to be a woman than Mary. Mary is the source of feminine genius. Her life was given as a complete gift to God and to others. Her whole life was to serve God by raising her son, Jesus Christ. As mentioned in my post on community (see here):

Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself." (GS 24).

By serving others, we give ourselves. This is the "gift of self". Women give of themselves in so many ways. We give ourselves in raising our children and in serving our husbands (that one will really turn heads). We give ourselves in our careers and in serving our community. But this "giving" is not lived as a servitude. "Service"-which, when it is carried out with freedom, reciprocity, and love, expresses the truly "royal" nature of mankind"; of womanhood.  (Letter to Women).

Women give of themselves in a completely different way than men. Our genius is expressed by and through our femininity. We are natural teachers and nurturers. We see the bigger picture and yet are able to focus on the details. Our gifts are vast and were created to complement the gifts given to men. This is the genius of humanity but the genius of the woman is unique and life-giving.

We are mothers, wives, teachers, doctors, nurses, politicians, lawyers, advocates, theologians, professors, pilots, artists etc. But the one unique part of our "giving" to others is that it is expressed through our femininity. We can't do things like men, because we are not men. We do things like women and that is beautiful.

It is a beautiful thing to be a woman. I did not discover the true beauty of my femininity until I discovered the teachings of the church on women.

Letter to Women
Mulieris Dignitatem (On The Dignity and Vocation of Women)

And of course, the many women who have changed the Church and have contributed so much by way of their intellect and love of God:

Saint Catherine of Siena Doctor of the Church
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Doctor of the Church
Saint Teresa of Avila Doctor of the Church
Saint Edith Stein Scholar and Martyr (Jewish Convert)
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla Doctor (MD), Mother and wife

And how can we forget the feminine genius expressed by the countless women in history who by their God-given talents and courage have helped to change the tide of evil and have left a record of their intimate thoughts by which we have been blessed?

Harriet Tubman Underground railroad- a former slave
Rosa Parks American civil rights activist
Margaret Thatcher Britains first female Prime Minister
Anne Frank young author killed in Holocaust

There are so many more to be named here. However, the real feminine genius God is asking to see is yours. How will you serve others? How will you serve your family and community so that others can see your feminine genius and give glory to God for you?

Disclaimer: photo courtesy of pixabay

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