A woman’s nature is to receive life and to be of service to life. To do her mission, she has a special ability to maintain a close dependency on God, which is strengthened by her persevering hope and trust in Him. We find this talked about in Fr. Karl Stehlin’s book on the nature of traditional men and women.
Love elicits a desire to show love by serving the other. It’s desire is to obtain the greatest good for the beloved. Man shows his love by guiding, leading, creating order and structure. The woman shows her love by being there for her beloved and helping maintain life. The more the woman devotes herself to serving life, the more perfect, noble and beautiful she becomes. For both men and women, Jesus’ glorified service as the perfect expression of love. Jesus came to serve, not to be served.
Mary reflex this in her response to the Angel Gabriel; “Behold the slave (servant) of the Lord.” This is when she received the Lord of all Life into her womb and served Him from then on. Mary continues to care for us who are in the Mystical Body of Christ.
Connected to service is the price of suffering. It came through the fall and is redeemed by Jesus’ suffering on the cross. He expressed His extreme love for us sinners on the cross. So women grow through being suffering servants. They bear children with suffering. Even the consecrated virgin suffers the sacrifice of not having a loving husband, the warmth of a home, cradling her own child. She escapes the suffering of a married woman to take on the suffering of service to others as nurse, teacher or by secretly praying for the world.
Being a mother, as you mothers well know, mean joys and suffering. Those who wish to avoid suffering, deny their womanhood. Love is the key to enduring the suffering of life. Through suffering for the beloved, love is perfected. It is no longer only a passing feeling, but a true act of love demonstrated in concrete daily actions.
As Jesus bore fruit on the tree of Life (suffering death on the Cross), so women bear fruit in union with Mary below the Cross on Calvary. Mary didn’t pursue a life of carnal pleasure, (which is an illusion anyway). She followed the way of the cross of her Son to show us to not follow the world’s way of cravings for pleasure. By giving up the way of pleasure seeking we can be free to live a loving life of service that brings sunlight into this dark world of egotism, and be a sign of hope and confidence.
In the world of feminized men, sometimes women have to do what they do not want to do. In Mexico, many women demanded that their husbands fight for the Catholic religion when it was being suppressed. Many women helped with the boycotts and the feeding and carrying arms to the men. God uses the weak to confound the strong.
Look at St. Catherine of Siena who reprimanded any priest or religious who was not living their vows. She even reprimanded the pope. Jesus spoke to St. Bridget of Sweden and told her what to say to correct popes and kings. St. Joan of Arc was mystically directed to lead the Catholic army of France to victory. She is a perfect example of a pure virgin obeying her Lord. But not all women are called to be hero’s. Most are called to be the hidden leaven working behind the scenes to form the family in the home.
Pope XI said in his Encyclical “Casti Connubi” said that “When the husband does not fulfill his obligation, it is the wife’s duty to take his place as head of the family.” While women have to do this, they should only do it with regret that the man is not doing his job and that she should be more than happy to step down when he does finally assume his God given role as leader and protector.
Men: stop being boys, step up to the plate and make the sacrifice to be holy husbands and fathers. Allow God to give you holy masculine strength to perform you duties lovingly and manfully. Do not waste your life just working, or drinking or on sports. Sports and pornography have become the drugs that keep boys boys who never grow up to use their life for the great things they have been called to do. Pornography and drugs and alcohol keep stunt boys maturity. They stay selfish boys all their lives until God finally breaks through their selfish worlds. Women, help your boys become men too. Challenge them. Help your daughters to be great daughters of God by keeping their dignity as virginal ladies.
It is of great importance that dads and moms take the time, (that means significant amount of time spent one on one with your children to get to know them) to affirm the great in their children and correct the defects. I know you probably will say you are too busy. But it is actually a great joy to know the inner workings of each child, beginning when they are little and still want to tell. Do not wait for the times when they are shutting up tight and will not share with you in their teen years. But if you take the time and enjoy communicating, playing and working with them from when they are tiny, when they reach the adolescent stage, they will still tell you everything.
This is also true about their faith. If you help them grow spiritually as little kids, they love God and going to church. They want to be priests and nuns as little kids. If you start late, it is very difficult to break through the walls they have built around their own world they created to survive without your attention when they needed it. That is why working mothers (and over working dads) are so bad. The kids need mom when they get home to share with and to find security from after being in the crazy school world. Dads, work with your boys. Take the time and patience to teach them what you know. Also dads affirm your love for your daughters by telling them how much you appreciate them and expect of them to be great.
Do not forget that you men and women are only co-workers with God in the formation of your children and family. You men are the external tree while you women are the important root support for life of the family. Let there be no place for pride in any role, male or female. Both are to be done in service to God, the family and the Church. All men will usually fail at doing their jobs as perfect as God wants them to do it, but do the best you can anyway. And women also fail at their jobs perfectly too. But with humility, prayer and love every man and every woman can do a good job.
We are so fortunate to know this traditional wisdom. By God’s grace may we joyfully and full of love, complete our vocation one day at a time. God only gives us enough grace and energy to complete what is before us today. Enjoy your husband, wife and kids today. As Jesus said: “Do not worry about tomorrow, because today has it’s own problems.” What he means is that we only have the present time to be enjoy our family and to be the greatest person possible. He always give us the help to suffer, love and grow TODAY. We waste so much energy worrying about tomorrow and things that mostly never happen. Today is the day to be focused on. Live it well and with love for God and others.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.