There are many things in the culture today we’re very confused about. Feminism and the empowerment of women are two that have been on my mind a lot lately.
I am all about the empowerment of women today. Some of it is really good stuff; some of the original suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony were pro-life women. I believe in the values of equal pay and rights for working women. I believe women should not be objectified and talked about as body parts or in ways deemed as “mere locker room talk.” We need to stand up and defend women who are abused and robbed of their dignity. Our world today is unknowingly aching for a true, beautiful reflection of the feminine genius that St. John Paul II spoke of with such love. Christian women today can identify as pro-life, pro-woman, and pro-feminist…even if we are kicked out of marches because of our stance on abortion.
But let’s not confuse empowerment with skipping off to the theater to watch 50 Shades Darker or similar movies and entertainment deemed as “Mommy Porn.” It is disgusting that the culture laughs and giggles at such a term. Let’s not confuse the honorable desire to help impoverished women and children globally with the assertion that birth control and condoms will be the “game changers” in their lives and families. At the end of the day, birth control is not what will end global poverty.
The sexual revolution of the 1960’s promised us freedom and greater expression in our sexuality. And here we are in 2017. We are more confused, lost, and sexually addicted than ever before. St. Edith Stein said it so perfectly: “The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.”
Our world needs what women are. And what women are is something precious in the eyes of our Father. St. John Paul the II wrote, “In fact woman has a genius all her own, which is vitally essential to both society and the Church. It is certainly not a question of comparing woman to man, since it is obvious that they have fundamental dimensions and values in common. However, in man and woman these acquire different strengths, interests, and emphases and it is this very diversity which becomes a source of enrichment.”
The culture today needs the beauty and boldness of women like Deborah, Ruth, Judith, and Esther in the Old Testament. We need more women like Mary, Maria Goretti, and Mother Teresa. We need activists like Dorothy Day, writers like Flannery O’Connor, and contemplatives like St. Faustina. Each of these women was vibrant, colorful, and lived fully alive to who God created her to be. These and many others give us a glimpse of what it means to live fully alive.
We are called to be fully alive to who God created us to be. And that is what the world really needs from women today.
Each of us was created with a unique purpose and plan and our dignity flows from the Father’s personal love for each of us. Embracing your femininity doesn’t mean you have to always wear a dress or love the color pink. It doesn’t mean you have to be timid, shy, or not speak your mind. It doesn’t mean you get comfortable with injustices committed against women in the world today. It is not based on how many babies you physically give birth to or the babies you dream of holding in your arms and ardently pray for. It is not based on whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed.
The problem is that many women today do not know what it means to be fully alive. And perhaps that is why the tenets of secular feminism are so entrenched in our culture and attractive to many today. It plays on the desire to do something meaningful and great in the world, but it falls short because it promises a freedom that it cannot deliver. And that desire is not a bad one. But left untamed it creates confusion and an identity crisis of what it really means to be a woman.
The world needs strong, brave, women of virtue chasing after the heart of God.
Are you living your life fully alive?
How is God asking you to use your unique feminine genius to love, serve, and do His Kingdom work on earth?
Because when you discover those answers in the quiet of your heart, it will be one of the most exciting and thrilling journeys you will ever embark upon.
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