Every so often, I am going to take on a different virtue from Sarah Swafford’s virtue challenge. The first virtue I practiced was FEMININITY. Now, I didn’t know what this meant at first regarding being a virtuous Catholic Christian woman, so I had to do a little research to come up with my goals and barriers below.
Now, by these being the characteristics which I chose to work on these past two weeks, I am not saying that they are limited to only women. Men can also be receptive, nurturing, and sensitive, but not in the same way that women are. Women have a special place in scripture and a special role in redemption.
Let’s just stop for a moment and think about Mary. Let’s take a second, close our eyes, and thank Mary for saying yes. Remember, Jesus would have never existed if it had not been for Mary saying yes.
Not only that, Mary was also the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
It was Mary who asked Jesus to get them more wine and Jesus, being the good son that he is, obeyed his mother. Jesus knew the importance of obeying His mother and trusted Mary whole-heartedly.
Additionally, there is no person that Jesus is closer to than His mother. Mary is the closest to God and she will bring us straight to Jesus if we ask her to.
When we take communion, our hearts are transformed more to the person of Jesus Christ, yes, but we also imitate Mary as well.
When we receive communion and Jesus inhabits our bodies, we get a little taste of what it was like when Jesus inhabited Mary’s body. At that moment, we not only become a little bit more like Jesus, we also become a little bit more like Mary.
In order to really TRULY cultivate femininity, we have to look at Mary and examine her characteristics.
Femininity, Mary Style
- Mary was receptive to God’s plan for her. When God called upon Mary, she didn’t say later or maybe next time, she humbled herself and said yes to his call. How often do we do this? I know I don’t very often. A lot of the time I know what God is asking me to do, but I brush it off until later or until I think I’m ready. To become more feminine, we have to emulate Mary, whose openness and response to God’s plan for her enabled her to change the world.
- In the bible, there is not a lot of information about the daily life of the Holy Family. I think that the Holy Spirit wanted it this way so that we could imagine what living with them would have been like. We can picture Jesus going to the carpentry shop with Joseph and Mary caring for her family. How do you think Mary cared for her family? I always imagine that she was the most loving and nurturing mother. I’m sure she worked all day to run the household and make them amazing meals every night. In order to emulate Mary, we need to nurture one another and care for one another as Mary cared for Jesus, with our whole hearts.
- When Jesus was on the cross, he looked at John and Mary and told John to behold his mother. He then told Mary to behold her son. From this moment on, Mary became the mother of the disciples and the whole world. She cared for the disciples and cares for all of us today. Do you know how many different personalities that is to care for? Oh my goodness…not only that, she is SO incredibly sensitive to all of our needs. Mary is the spiritual mother of all of us and a mother always wants to help her children. In order to help us, she has to be sensitive to all of our worries, fears, anxieties, and so much more. It’s unreal how sensitive Mary is to each and every one of us. In order to become more feminine, we need to become more sensitive to the needs of others.
So without further adieu, here are the goals and barriers that I chose to work on this past week along with a couple of excerpts from how the week went!
Currently, I’m reading this book called Perfectly Yourself by Matthew Kelly. It’s about accepting yourself as being imperfectly perfect and how to discern between what is an imperfection and a character flaw.
As I was reading the book, I started to get angry. He was talking about how we sometimes we lie to ourselves and say, “that’s just the way I am!”.
I was getting so frustrated because I feel like this is SO true in my life. Sometimes I feel so bogged down, and like I can’t change when this is so far from the truth. As I was reading what he was saying, I wanted to close the book and watch TV.
The devil was calling for me to be distracted so I closed my mind to the possibility that I could change.
Thank goodness, he was also talking about building character in the same chapter so I thought I’d test mine and keep reading. As I was reading, I remembered how I was practicing the feminine virtue and tried to be receptive to what Kelly was saying.
I am honestly still struggling to accept that I am not always honest with myself as I write this, I know that I have to. That is the first step in changing, being honest with yourself about what the problem is.
I’ll try my hardest, but I know that this will not be easy…
The other night, my friend and I went to a bar in Houston. We met these two guys and hung out with all night.
My friend primarily talked to one, and I mainly talked to the other. I don’t know how we got on this topic, but politics came up. I know, a great conversation to have with someone you just met.
The guy that I was talking to and I were on VERY different sides of the political sphere.
In a lot of conversations where people have different views, it can turn into a screaming match very quickly, but luckily ours did not.
It’s hard for me not to get heated in these conversations because I am super passionate about these two topics. It’s something I’m working on.
However, I tried to my best to be sensitive to what he was saying and not make any rash or offensive comments.
Don’t get me wrong, I held my ground and explained my views very clearly and sternly, but it was one of the first conversations about these topics that I did not get very heated.
Everyone has different life experiences that shape them into who they are and being sensitive to them can help change a person’s mind more than snappy comments ever could.
You guys, I know I just told y’all that I had my first political argument that wasn’t heated, but religious arguments are completely different. Yesterday, I went and had lunch with one of my friends who I’ve known for literally my whole life. She told me all about her faith journey and how she is applying to become a missionary next year.
Her story is so inspiring, and I am SO excited for her to help encourage other people in their faith. I think she’s perfect for that.
As we were talking, she shared with me how she has gotten people to open up about their beliefs and how she has helped some to come back to the Church.
She shared some of her techniques in doing this which were a lot of asking questions and listening. It was inspiring to hear and helped me to reflect on my ways of helping people to grow in their faith.
It seems simple enough to ask questions and to listen, but I don’t think I do it as compassionately as she does.
One of my friends told me once that arguing with me was like arguing with a brick wall; she didn’t feel like it was a conversation.
Granted, I am firm in my beliefs and very proud of them, but if I don’t make an effort to understand where someone else is coming from and try to see their point of view, then how will I know how to help them?
Additionally, when people don’t agree with the Church or want to make fun of it, I can get agitated.
This story made me think about femininity and being receptive and extending compassion to those who have different views than me. If you don’t show them love, then how will they come to know the love of the Church? This lunch made me realize I need to work on these feminine qualities in religious arguments!
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