Happy Mother’s Day! Appropriate and unintentionally, I recently listened to lighthouse media’s Feminine Genius a presentation given by Colleen Carroll Campbell just before Mother’s Day. We woman are all called to be “mothers”, physically or spiritually by our inherent nature and individual gifts, and she beautifully describes the feminine genius and how to bring it to our own lives.
Campbell references John Paul II’s writings as well as examples from the lives of Saints including Edith Stein, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Teresa of Avila. She explains how women are called to serve to bring God’s love to the world in a different way from men, and our culture does not support this call. It is up to us to realize our calling to love and bring our “feminine genius” to the those in our lives.
Shopping, working outside the home, cleaning our houses, and looking good all while doing it are some of the characteristics we woman are called by culture to be in this world. We are asked to hate men while trying to imitate and work and be like them.
Let’s have a reality check, ladies. We don’t have to hate men. And changing ourselves doesn’t work for us and prevents us from doing what we are called to do, that is to love others in the way we He created us to love.
One gem I took away from this presentation was a woman’s natural tendency toward relationships and how we have to be on guard not to turn those relationships into idols. Over the years I have experienced this. Many times. OK, many MANY times.
We as woman have the ability to give beautifully in our relationships. This however, requires we completely give ourselves and over to God, otherwise our works may become self indulgent. When we give in order to feel fulfilled and not rely on God for fulfillment these gifts of compassion, concern, and empathy can quickly become possessiveness, gossip, greed, allowing our emotions to lead us, and other related sins. It’s when we stay close to God through prayer and the sacraments that our feminine genius can become gifts to the others in our lives.
We need feminine genius in our world, which is characterized by receptivity, awareness and concern for others, expressing ourselves emotionally and showing our deep compassion and empathy for others. We don’t all have to bear children, or be housewives to do this. We can still have degrees, careers, and even lead lives outside of those traditional roles. The call is to love others around us in our own way, as the individuals we are, and not be afraid to do so. Build the people around you up. Even when its hard or feels awkward – and especially when it is hard or feels awkward.
We, as women, are called in different ways. As Mother Teresa has said, we are to find our own Calcutta within our lives and serve them.
Our Calcutta is very close and sometimes a much larger city than we give it credit for – think of all the strangers you pass in a day. How often do you say a prayer when you notice someone? We are called to love EVERYONE. Everyone. That’s a VAST city, my friends. And we don’t we usually stick to the few familiar streets we know well?
Learning about who we are and relying on God to guide us in our prayers and works will open us to the goodness he wants to bestow on us and open our eyes to see those he wants us to serve in our day to day.
This mother’s day remember that all women share a call to spiritual motherhood. So happy mother’s day to all woman, and especially moms, out there.