A few days ago, I wrote about masculinity looking like St. Joseph. I got a lot of support for that post, and I promised to write about Mary and femininity. Femininity is under a massive attack by the culture of death. Women are increasingly reduced to just the sum of their (mostly sexual) parts. Being a skinny woman or a pretty woman is seen as more admirable than being a good woman. As clothes grow shorter, our sense of self-image shrinks right along with our hemlines. We are no more than a collection of butts and boobs and hipbones in the eyes of the media and in the eyes of all mankind. We are soulless, lifeless, identity-less, and utterly without a future beyond what our urges tell us what we want.
So let me present the true image of what a woman should look like.
Mary is a beautiful, shining light, showing through every age what a woman should be like. In the Catholic Church, of which I am an entirely too proud member, she is seen as the pinnacle of humanity, the standard by which every human being is judged. But why? What makes this simple young woman from a backwater town in a backwater country so emulable? Like with St. Joseph, I’m going to try to pick out the best of her qualities.
Humility- Again, just like her husband, Mary’s best quality is her humility. She never sought out the spotlight, but was content to serve to the best of her ability both God and other people. She said “yes” when God asked her to do something that would have been terrifying for her, and thanks to that quiet, humble fiat, the whole of humanity gained redemption. Her whole life was pointed towards God, centered on glorifying Him. She was the handmaid of the Lord, and accepted His will. From her, women should learn that fulfillment doesn’t come from being the prettiest, or the skinniest, or the best dressed, or the most wealthy… it comes from fulfilling our God-planned mission in life. And we learn what that is by being humble enough to listen for His voice and humble enough to say yes.
Selfless Service: Picture this. You’re a girl of maybe 15, an only child, in a tiny village surrounded by people who have known your family for generations. You’re engaged to a really great guy, and everyone expects you to stay chaste until you marry in a few months. And then… an angel appears and says that not only are you about to be pregnant (with the Messiah, no less!) but that your older relative, who has been barren her whole life, is ALSO pregnant by the will of God. That’s a lot of pressure and a lot of stress for a teenager, right? So would the first thing you do be to “(arise and go) with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah” (Luke 1:39) to see that relative? If you said no, congrats, you’re normal. But we women aren’t called to be just normal. Mary always served, always put others above herself, always loved without any thought of her own wants. She still does, every time we reach out to her to pray for us! We women are called to service. We have amazing capacities to love and to nurture and to protect. We need to use those gifts to help others, not further our own agendas. Men are called to service, yes, but in different ways. We women are the nurturers, the protectors of the heart and home. Don’t be satisfied with normal. Be satisfied to know that you have loved others above yourself.
Faith: Read the magnificat, real quick. I’ll even help out and put it here for you.
Listen to that beautiful language there. Mary is here talking to her relative, Elizabeth, about how great and wonderful God is, how He protects her and takes care of her.
This woman is facing death right now, guys.
When she goes home, there is a great chance she will be stoned, which is a really nasty way to die. But she’s going on about how good and holy God is, how blessed she is to have His favor. That is the amazing joy that comes from faith. We are all called to have that kind of faith. It’s really hard, though, in this day and age. Sadness is everywhere. Hearts and homes are broken every day. Husbands leave, wives lose faith, love fizzles and dies, and children suffer. Jobs and homes and hope are lost. Friendships end, and with every blow, the human heart feels more and more alone, more and more unable to have faith in God. But we need to try, sisters. We are called to have the faith of Mary. When life looks bleak and we have no idea what our next step is, we are called to glorify God, because we need to know that He will care for us. Our ability to feel joy and peace is completely and entirely dependent on our ability to be faithful. Mary made it through what seemed impossible because she never lost faith that God would care for her. You can get through the impossible in your life with that same faith. She sat at the base of the cross itself, watching her beloved Son, broken and tortured, give up His last breath for the selfsame people who murdered Him. And she still had faith in what God was doing, and she felt fully the joy and peace of the Resurrection.
So it doesn’t matter what we look like or how much money we make. It doesn’t matter, sisters, if we have a PhD or just a high school diploma. It doesn’t matter if we have a husband or if we come home to a cat and a television set every night. We are all called and all given the capability to be like Mary. If you are unsure how to be like her, pray the rosary. Learn to love her Son through her. She may be the queen of heaven, but she is one of the most approachable and loving people ever. She’s our mom, given to humanity by Christ himself as He hung on the cross (John 19:27.)
Mary, mother of us all, pray for us!
Love to all!