Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Essence of Woman

Hail Mary, Full of grace
Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus
 This is part of the Hail Mary prayer. It teaches us that the essence of womanhood has something to do with their womb. This is a pretty radical truth these days. We live in a pornographic culture where the essence of woman is seen in their ability to excite a man sexually. If you had to associate it with a part of the anatomy it would not be the womb but rather the breasts or the genitals. You often hear how the church hates women. But the reality is it just hates the way our culture views womanhood.

This is not something easily learned. That is why I am grateful Catholic tradition has encouraged me to say many Hail Mary's. It is the sort of thing you can't just pick up in one sitting. It has to be contemplated. Women give their children their very selves through their DNA but also through the intimate nurture of a womb. Everything they do effects the baby. It is such a beautiful picture God gives us of what love must be.

That is why contraception is so unthinkable. Because the moment we declare ourselves closed to gifts of God that require self-sacrifice that is when we stop being who we are. Women stop being women. Men stop being men in a similar way.

Think of the Good Samaritan. The priest and the levite had simply decided they had opened themselves to enough self-sacrificial love. They were going to Jerusalem probably to lead in prayers for a week. That is one big sacrifice. But God gifted them with another. An injured man on the road can be a gift. A person we can love, Often we can love all mankind by loving one such person. We might think we are too busy but we need to let God overrule that if He so chooses.

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