Strengthening Families. Building Communities. Reducing Poverty.

Ushering in the Fearlessly Feminine Women of God

 

Prior to our visit, my husband and I attended Mass. Parishioners handed out a reflection on St. Anne as we entered the church—the reflection related the combination of pain, hopeful waiting, and joy that Anne and Joachim experienced during their infertility. Their joy was rooted in trust of God—who ultimately rewarded their faith with the greatest fruit, the Immaculate Conception!

The deepest fulfillment, peace and joy any Christian will experience is in a full embrace of and surrender to God’s will. We are reminded in the second Vatican Council document Guadium et Spes, that we fully find ourselves only when we make a sincere gift of ourselves. A woman knows this who by God’s grace has the patience to lovingly sooth a child who wakes her at night from a bad dream—she is rewarded by the peace that comes when she loves God present in her child. Rather than succumbing to her weak nature which wants to be impatient and complain, she allows God to work through her, and she returns love for Love. It is this that the saints show us—a desire which motivates all of their actions—a burning need to respond in love to the One who has first loved them.

Father Matthew Kauth gave a homily on the Feast of St. Anne this year that emphasized the strength and beauty of women, as he described how St. Anne and Our Lady embraced God’s will for them by assisting Jesus toward His Passion. We should desire to imitate these women, in making a gift of ourselves to the Lord. No one knows us better or desires our happiness and beauty more than our Lord. We see this in Scripture as there are numerous examples of His deep respect and love for women, something not typical of His day. We can trust our Lord to give us what we need to respond in love to Him in every moment of our lives. One great saint we celebrated this month, Therese of Lisieux, gave us “the little way”—sanctity lies in doing all things with great love.

The most powerful women in the history of the Church have been madly in love with our Lord and totally surrendered to Him. Their utter dependence on Him is no sign of weakness. We see that the complementarity of men and women has produced much fruit for the Church—look to the close friendships of great saints, such as St. Clare and St. Francis, or John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. Women and men must embrace their unique gifts in their support of each other. Fr. Kauth also speaks to the important role of men in another recent homily.

We are beginning to see the skewed ideals of radical feminism have not been met, and women are embracing the “new feminism”. The unique qualities of authentic femininity are clearly articulated by Blessed John Paul II and Edith Stein, or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. The Poor Clares in the Charlotte Diocese have recently completed a series of articles exploring these qualities, which encourage women to be “fearlessly feminine women of God”. See links to each article below. Join women in the Charlotte Diocese for a morning of reflection on prayer, the Blessed Mother, and the “new feminism” later this month.

We can look to the Church as the greatest champion of women. We must seek inner transformation with the guidance of the Church and Her Sacraments. It is the woman completely surrendered to the Holy Spirit working in her that will do great things. Our greatest model is Our Lady. So, let us go to Jesus through Mary—we then will become filled with His love and light. He will make us capable of accomplishing the mission of love He has planned for us from all eternity. Let us joyfully affirm that “…the hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being achieved in its fullness, the hour in which woman acquires in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is under-going so deep a transformation, women impregnated with the spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid mankind in not falling.” (Address of Pope Paul VI to Women, December 8, 1965).

This reflection is inspired by the sixth pilot episode at www.thecatholicviewforwomen.com.

Batrice Adcock, MSN, RN, is the Natural Family Planning Program Director.

The Poor Clares:

The Soul of Woman

Shelter of Souls

Clear Brilliance

Image of Love’s Depth

Queen of the Castle

October 27th Morning of Reflection, Presentation by Frances Martini

Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte © 2014