Eternity became time in a woman.
By Carolyn Shields
Sometimes I feel like I fail at being an English major, like I can’t name a single Wordsworth poem. (Similarly, I joke a lot about failing at being a woman because I kind of hate all animals.) But anyway, William Wordsworth called “our tainted nature’s solitary boast” woman. Wordsworth believed that our world’s only hope is woman. And you think about it, you have to wonder why the world wants to rationalize and explain every darn little thing. Why does the world want us to believe so badly that we were born of risen apes, or as Robert Audrey puts it, “not fallen angels...and the apes were armed killers. So what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted to battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses." Yeah, that sounds nice Mr. Audrey, real poetic, and for years I’ve been taken with that final line, but sorry, you’re wrong.
The world wants us to believe we are insignificant. John Green wrote in Fault in our Stars that for every live person, there’s fourteen corpses. People argue that we’re nothing but something that has evolved, that we are just a species on a planet in a universe amongst thousands. God hasn’t abandoned us, but the world has abandoned God. And it is our duty, as women, to lead this world back to the Cross which is the bridge between humanity and divinity. To show that our existence in itself is something powerful. That we are once in a lifetime, but we have a lifetime of work to accomplish.
Women have something innately within us that allows us to see the need and then meet the need. Take Mother Theresa. She saw the poor, she clothed them. She saw the hungry, she fed them. Woman’s unhappiest moments in life are when she is unable to give, and we can all relate to this. That’s kind of why I started this website, because I couldn’t fix my broken relationship, I couldn’t give him what I wanted to anymore. To be noted; woman’s most hellish moments are when she refuses to give. When we are denied a passage for this need to give, we feel a deep sense of emptiness, more so than a man because of our greater depths of our fountain of love (these aren’t my words, but Sheen’s).
Well, there’s plenty in this world to keep us busy, so we’ve got that going for us…(read: sarcasm).
But throughout world history, woman has not failed. We were the ones to stand behind kings, to hold our soldiers as they cried behind home doors. We were the ones who walked with Christ all the way to Calvary, for as Fulton Sheen writes, “At the trial, the only voice that is raised in His defense is the voice of a woman. Braving the fury of the court officials, she breaks into the Judgment Hall and bids her husband, Pilate, not to condemn the ‘just man.’ On the way to Calvary, although a man is forced to help carry the Cross, the pious women of Jerusalem, ignoring the mockery of the soldiers and bystanders, console Him with words of sympathy. One of them wipes His face with a towel and forever after has the name of Veronica, which means ‘true image,’ for it was His image the Savior left on her towel. On Calvary itself, there are three women present…the three types of souls forever to be found beneath the Cross of Christ: penitence, motherhood, and virginity. This is the greatest crises this earth ever staged, and women did not fail.”
Woman is Heaven’s instrument on earth. Our compassion is something that is different from men; we didn’t want Christ to walk alone, and likewise, Christ will never leave us to walk alone either. I’m not saying men aren’t compassionate, that they wanted Christ crucified. Obbbbviously not. I love my men. But for the sake of this essay, I want to highlight what makes women so undeniably, incontrovertibly, beautifully different from men. There’s so many things that are similar between Adam and Eve, but our intelligence and our reason (let alone our bodies) make us so unique.
Transition and continuation.
Thomas Aquinas wrote that intelligence is higher than reason. Angels have intelligence but no reason. Angels have intuitive intelligence with no reasoning process. Intelligence is immediacy of understanding. They know. Reason is the opposite: it’s a lot slower. Generally, Aquinas writes, man’s nature is more rational, and woman’s is more intellectual. (Get it? Woman’s intuition. It’s a real thang.) Time for another Fulton Sheen quote:
“However, the woman is slower to love, because love, for her, must be surrounded by a totality of sentiments, affections, and guarantees. The man is more impulsive, wanting pleasures and satisfactions, sometimes outside of their due relationship. For the woman, there must be a vital bond of relationship between herself and the one she loves. The man is more on the periphery and rim and does not see her whole personality involved in his pleasures. The woman wants unity; the man, pleasure.”
Rationally, a man is confused at a ‘woman’s reasons.’ He can’t break down a woman’s reasons and look at them analytically. (Cue memory of star gazing with ze old boyfriend, who promised me he’s excited about our relationship, even if it doesn’t seem that way because he thinks analytically). What also beautifully defines us from men is the relation between reigning and governing. Men govern, women reign. In this way we complement each other. Men are less shocked by trifles in life than women, but when a great crises occurs, it is generally women who “because of her gentle power of reigning, can give great consolation to man in his troubles” (Sheen). The man is the giver in his governing ways, but the woman is the gift in her reigning.
Are women (and men) living up to these ideals that are divinely bestowed on her? Or is the world slowly degrading these ideals in its tiring propaganda influx of rationalism? Right now in the world, more than anything, the world is in dire need of the restoration of these ideals. As the Blessed Mother draws many to Christ, dear womenfolk, we must draw our men back to our Beloved. We recognize this need. We must meet this need.
How? Fulton Sheen says women can do this through 1) restoring constancy in love, 2) restoring respect for personality, and 3) infusing the virtue of purity into souls.
Yeah, I know. It’s hard enough being a woman and going through PMS without having this great responsibility on us. It’s not something fun to contemplate when you’re immobile with cramps and drowning in chocolate lust and college loans. But, as in all great things, we start small, and we start in the name of Christ. Look at your relationships now. What is needed in them?
Ready for this? Jesus didn’t go after the whole world during his thirty-three years. He gathered around him twelve men. Twelve relationships. And he worked on those relationships so that they could go out and gather men around them. This is called spiritual multiplication, and I beckon you to read more about it HERE.
If we women share the smallest portion of intelligence with that of angels, if we strive to follow our prototype, the BVM, how can we fail? If God is for us, who then will be against us? (Romans 8:31) We do not have enemies on this earth. The only true enemy was destroyed by the Cross. We have prodigal brothers and sisters, and we need to go after them. (Heard of the New Evangelization?)
This is why this website is here. For encouragement. Because we can’t do this alone, but one person can do so much. Womenfolk, we’ve been blessed with our hearts and our intuitions and our sentimental dreams of frail perfection. We’ve been blessed with each other. Let’s do this.