Friday, October 4, 2013

Women: Meditations

Women who are concerned to restore the true place of women in society, should study the work of Matthias Scheeben, the 19th century priest, theologian and mystic, who demonstrated the deep analogy present in Patristic theology between the Holy Spirit and the Blessed ever-Virgin Mary. First of all, we can start with the fact that Eve was formed from the rib or side of Adam. This clearly indicates that Eve was composed of something that Adam had within him. Did he lose it when Eve was formed? Apparently he did! Recall that Adam lived for some time before Eve was created from his side. Recall, also, that Our Divine Lord never married – and that in imitation of Him, many holy men, priests, religious, monks and laymen, lived celibate lives. History is full of such examples. So, it is a fact that human nature is complete without the female principle. Or is it? Yes, it is! Did not God take the female out of Adam? So is Adam incomplete after the formation of Eve? Yes, in a sense he is. God formed Eve from Adam’s own body in order to externalize the feminine principle in God as well as in Adam. And also, to make a Trinity of the human family. To externalize here – means to make a profoundly real analogy with Mary, Ever-Virgin. Remember, whenever we speculate about divine things, all is present in the Divine Mind. There is no before and after – or future. It is all now.

And so, in God, the Three Divine Persons have always been and evermore Are. And so, God sees the human family as Father, Mother and Child-ren. God saw Adam as the Prototype of the Incarnate Word of God– but He also saw him as the Father, with Eve, of the whole human race or family. Adam is complete when Eve, the feminine principle, is within him. Then he is like the Blessed Trinity always is: the Holy Ghost is the feminine principle in God, in the Most Blessed Trinity – as the personal love of the Father for the Son and of the Son for the Father. But when God formed Eve from Adam’s side, Adam himself was incomplete without her, but complete as male and female – for the two constitute human nature as the fountain and foundation of the human family.

What a wonderful mystery!

And it is even more wonderful and beautiful when we see the role of our Blessed Mother Mary in the Order of the mystery of the Incarnation. Our Divine Lord’s Humanity remains absolutely perfect and complete in Himself, and so it will forever remain. And yet, there are two miraculous and most beautiful facts to this ever new mystery: One is that the Word of God took His Human Nature completely from Mary – so that His physical image was as if He were her “Twin” – so much did He resemble her and also the role of the Holy Ghost as the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin…for He alone created, with the Father and the Son, the male part of conception, whatever that was or was not in this case. For Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Ghost and was made man. And so, here we have the deepest and purest analogy of the Blessed Trinity in the Holy Family, where St. Joseph represents God the Father, Jesus is the Son, and Mary is the personification of God the Holy Ghost – as the feminine principle of the love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father. This is why, too, some theologians raise St. Joseph into the Order of the Incarnation, but not St. John the Baptist. The Blessed Virgin Mary is always mentioned in the Mass with St. John the Baptist. Perhaps someday St. Joseph will be added. He was the Foster-Father of God the Son as well as the human guardian – spouse of Mary.

With such exalted truths about the feminine gender to contemplate, how could any woman be so foolish as to desire, or even to think of, a vocation other than that of a wife and mother? Those called to the higher religious life are spouse and mother in the higher spiritual sense – nonetheless –real. Some saints have been fruitful in both states. Married women should see in their husbands – what is truly, really their own other and higher “half” – their “head” and authority under God. Only in such a relationship will there be true fruitfulness for the family. God intends marriage – both physical and spiritual –to reflect the Blessed Trinity.
A woman's entire mission in life, whether she be wife and mother or religious, is to supply for men, in the way of a real service, not as a slave, but as a handmaiden. Just as Our Blessed Mother Mary saw herself...behold the handmaid of the Lord! - to supply what a man lacks, and what he gave up sacrificially, we can say, when God formed the woman Eve from Adam's side. And now, a most important point, quite overlooked previously, is the fact that it was God Who first said: "It is not good for man to be alone. (Gen.2:18). And then proposed: "Let Us make him a help like unto himself. (Gen.2:18) But instead of making Eve then and there, immediately, God brought all the animals and birds, "to see what Adam call them, "for whatsoever Adam called any living creature, the same is its name." (Gen.2:19) And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field; but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself.(Gen.2:20)

Just by way of parenthesis, people who tend to make dogs and cats surrogate children, or real companions, should take special note of this passage in Genesis. Of course, there is some excuse now, at least for men, because the feminine principle has been taken out of them since the creation of Eve. But God always provides for those who seek to do His Will and to please Him. Holy Scripture does not indicate here nor in any other place that there was any kind of response from Adam to his lonely situation nor did he ever manifest any need for a helper, so far as we know. Is this not proof positive - that human nature is, indeed, quite complete in Adam, the man, before the creation of Eve, the woman?

When God said, (Gen. 1:26), "Let Us make man to Our Image and Likeness", the Fathers of the Church say this refers to the natural and the supernatural states of life, human (natural) and divine (supernatural) life. St. Thomas sees intellect and will as the faculties of the one immortal soul, but adds the image-making faculty with St. Augustine, memory and/or imagination. But, could not the Trinitarian nature of God also be reflected in Adam's intellect, (with memory and imagination as integral aspects of the intellect), will and the feminine principle? In Genesis 1:28 - Adam and Eve are told to increase and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.

This command obviously was given to our first parents after the making of Eve and the institution of marriage, detailed in Genesis 2:21-25. There is no contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. They simply have a different author in the sense that Genesis 1 is God's direct narrative, given to Adam - who then recorded his own history up to Genesis V - wherein the narrative of Seth begins. This is the patriarchal "theory", which I find so compellingly true that I do not think of it as a "theory" at all, but simply as pointing to the evidence of the fact that not only Genesis, but the entire Pentateuch was written by the eyewitnesses of the historical facts/events recorded.

And so the chronology of events is this:

The creation of Heaven and earth: Waters = Light

Day One: Time begins. The creation of the inanimate realm of limited-finite but
virtually infinite number of elementary particles: atoms and photons. Prime Matter and Form of the Body of the Universe - spherical around fixed immobile Earth with hierarchical Order of Creation within.

Day Two: the distinction or division/separation of the Waters, above and below the firmament of Heaven

Day Three: the gathering of the Waters into seas; dry land appears - Earth brings forth the plant kingdom: herbs, grasses, trees

Day Four: Making of Sun, Moon, Stars and placed or set in the Firmament to give light, to shine upon the Earth and for signs and seasons - day - night - month - years.

Day Five: The Waters brought forth the marine creatures and the birds

Day Six: the earth brought forth all the land animals, domestic and wild and God made Adam in God's own Trinitarian Image and Likeness

Day Seven: God finished His work and rested on the Sabbath Day. He instituted the Day of Rest, He blessed and sanctified it. (Gen.2:3) God places Adam in the Garden of Eden, "to dress it and keep it. (Gen.2:15)

God gives to Adam the one command: to eat of every tree in the Garden; but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil thou shalt not eat, for in the day so ever thou shall eat of it - thou shalt die the death. (Gen.2:15-17.)

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