Letter to Women – Week 2
Week Two: An Act of Contrition
In the Holy Father’s own words:
When it comes to setting women free from every kind of exploitation and domination, the Gospel contains an ever relevant message which goes back to the attitude of Jesus Christ himself. Transcending the established norms of his own culture, Jesus treated women with openness, respect, acceptance and tenderness. In this way he honored the dignity which women have always possessed according to God’s plan and in his love. As we look to Christ at the end of this Second Millennium, it is natural to ask ourselves: how much of his message has been heard and acted upon.
Women have value and dignity because women are made in God’s image and likeness. This is a fact. But the idea that women have dignity and that idea permeating the hearts and minds of the culture of the Roman Empire and extending to Western Civilization into our own day happened because of the attitude of Jesus Christ and His followers. It happened because of Christians.
In reading and studying Chapter 2, I was struck by a couple of thoughts:
-I absolutely love how the author mentions religious sociologist Rodney Stark as I have been a fan of his for years and am currently reading his book, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success. He’s not a Christian either and therefore can’t be accused of reading history with a Christian bias. He articulates well the historical fact that human advancement for the cause of dignity happened because of the Christian Faith.
-Women led the way for conversion in the Roman Empire! Neither through political or economic power, but through authentic expressions of the feminine genius was society transformed! YES!
Emily Stimpson Chapman writes in Chapter 2, “Catholics have never had to look hard to find examples of great women scholars; the Church has long celebrated Saint Paula, who helped Saint Jerome translate the Bible into Latin, and Saint Hildegard of Bingen, who penned lengthy treatises on medicine, liturgy, and theology.”
The list goes on and on but the truth is there are more hidden female saints than famous ones. Known or unknown, each single feminine soul’s expression of genius is “vital and essential” for both the Church and the world—to borrow from Saint John Paul II!
Pray on it: In what ways does my behavior reflect a lack of dignity toward myself? Do I allow myself to be exploited or objectified in any way? Am I kind to myself? Do I allow myself to receive kindness and tenderness from the Lord?