So many times we hear, "the Church doesn't like women," or worse, "God doesn't like women." Nothing could be further from the truth. For a few years, I led a Little Flower Girls Club group at my church. It was something that the girls enjoyed and I felt passionate about, but it became increasingly difficult to get solid commitments from families with the pulls of so many other activities and sports. Anyway, organizing the meetings required me to study not only the virtue of the month but Catechism and scripture to support it. I believe I actually learned more than the girls I was teaching.
In my studying, I found an explanation of why women can't be priests that blew me away. It wasn't because of oppression, it wasn't chauvinist ideas, it was a solid truth that actually elevates women, not degrades them. (Forgive me for not remembering the source, if anyone recognizes this and knows the source, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.) The core of the argument went like this, priests are married to the Church, they are the caretakers and guardians of Christ's bride. They are the Church's earthly husbands, while Christ is ever the head of it all. However, women religious are--get ready--the brides of Christ. Let that sink in, THE BRIDES OF CHRIST. Is there anything better than that? They are wedded directly to the Lord of lords and King of kings.
However, it is not just consecrated women that are special, all women are special. Women have the hidden beauty of cooperating with God in His plan of creation. They come as close as possible to being the very Hand of God. When a woman conceives in her womb by God's grace, her body not only lends itself to the Will of God, but also works to construct what God has deemed to be created. Women are a miracle of God's love. Think about it, Adam was created from dirt, Eve from his rib. God could have chosen any means possible to introduce new humans into His creation--stork deliveries, cabbage patches, anything! We think that the tales of storks gliding down from heaven with a blanket sling that hold a precious baby to be left on someone's front porch is ridiculous child's play, of course that isn't how it happens. Think, though, about our all powerful, all capable, all knowing God who is able to speak, simply speak, anything and everything into being. Yet, He chose a mere mortal to be His source of continued creation. It is through a woman that the world was first occupied and subdued, and it is through a woman that the Savior, the Son of the Living God came to redeem us all.
Mary was the first tabernacle, a living tabernacle. She cradled in her body the redemption of all mankind, the prophesy of ages, the Alpha and Omega, the incarnate Word of God. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine the thoughts that raced through her head as her abdomen grew and she felt tiny feet kick her ribs. Can you even imagine? While priests are annointed to consecrate the hosts and are placed as guardians of the tabernacle; a woman WAS the tabernacle.
We must always be mindful of how God loves women and reveres them. As the hymn goes, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed in turn all women, too." (Hail Mary, Gentle Woman by Carey Landry) Our daughters and Goddaughters must know also how loved they are by God and how special they are in His Plan. If you are interested in learning more about teaching our young girls about how special and truly loved they are, please visit my series on Mother/Daughter retreats on my blog.
Do you have any other gems of wisdom that they have shared with women or girls about their beauty in the Faith?