By Carolyn Shields
Woman is made for the sacred. We are meant for a divine union, and because of this, we won't be ever be fully satisfied here. No matter how many years we dedicate to missions work, or how many souls we win over to Christ, or how many cities we visit, there won't ever be enough beauty to conquer our hearts. No matter how many hours we spend on our knees, or how many rosaries we pray, we just won't be content. But like our old college readings (which could never fully be accomplished if we wanted to be sane and social) we have to go at it like we can.
“There are no borders, no limits. Go out. Go forward. And keep going,” Pope Francis said in Rio in 2013, even when we don't see an end in sight. My college career is over in three months, and then? I guess the future? According to Robert Fogel, one of America's top economic historians, life expectancy has increased thirty years in the past century. That's more than the total increase in life expectancy in the past 200,000 years. We are living in an incredible era of possibility. There's a world of opportunity, of chances and risks waiting, but sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and trust in Christ that we are headed in the right direction. "I am the way," Christ told Peter. It is vital that we work towards something, and at times when we simply don't know, we head towards the cross. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychologist and the world's leading researcher on positive psychology, wrote that women are most happy when they are working towards something, and are least happy during those moments of rest or leisure. Surprised? In these moments of 'flow,' women are contributing, women are fulfilling some desire that contributes their gifts to society. (I threw a Catholic spin on his philosophy, but whatever). So yeah, we may never be fully satisfied and we may not know where we are going per se, but it's so incredibly vital that we journey on.
So we GO on, not always sure and more often than not, second guessing, and we go forth on this adventure in Anthropology-knockoff skirts with the knowledge that we owe an infinite debt. We wear the identity of charming Catholic feminism to shoulder the challenges we will face on this journey to Calvary. And we sometimes wear a vulnerable heart on our sleeves, though sisters, "with close custody, guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life" (Proverbs 4:23) because our purpose is a service of love, and as women our deepest desire is to love and not always necessarily to be loved in return. THIS is our universal vocation and calling as women. We are meant to love.
This truth reveals the depths that women have within them to maternally love in the imitation of the Blessed Mother. As women, we have been blessed with incontrovertibly beautiful hearts, but as Jacques Philippe writes in Interior Freedom, the great tragedy with love is that we oftentimes misdirect our love toward materialism or inwardly.
Use that interior compass and fix the arrow on Calvary. Direct your love toward the Cross. Women have a unique role to play in redemption, and we have all been blessed with individual gifts to achieve this great task. We are collaborating with the divine.
John Paul II wrote, "we desire to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the 'mystery of woman' and...for all that constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity, for the 'great works of God', which throughout human history have been accomplished in and through her" (Mulieris Dignitatem). He continues in his Letter to Women, "Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life--social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life every open to the sense of 'mystery.'"
We may not always understand where we are going, but we can understand our identity as daughters of Christ. 1. We are made for the sacred. 2. We won't ever be fully satisfied, but we have to work at it like we can be. 3. Our true vocation is to love. Our hearts have a capacity for great love, and 4. We revel in feminine mystery. We were designed to be of great charm and harbor a dignity that is not weighted in comparison to individuals or self-worth, but is bestowed on us by the Protector of our Hearts. We are women, hear us roar! And while you're roaring, check out our Feminine Beauty page!
You are undeniably beautiful, and you are wanted. But more than anything, you are needed.