Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Women: Meditations - Last and Final Part

And in line with my present focus, we can see in all women Saints, some kind of special relationship with a man, usually in the Priesthood. And there surely needs to be many special studies of married Saints. In all cases, I submit, it would be most profitable and rewarding to focus on the masculine loss of the feminine principle, which is incarnated in the woman. This is why

men are irresistably drawn to women. And it places upon women the most sacred responsibility, the truest obligation and most natural of all duties to respond to that need in a way that conduces to the eternal salvation of both. And it is important for a woman – always – to be under some man in authority, either ecclesiastical or the head of the family. There is no such thing, in my opinion, as a woman whose career is her life. There are only two vocations for a woman: marriage and religious. If a woman does not enter a religious order or congregation and elects to remain in the world, she is obliged, in my opinion, to live the evangelical counsels in the world….but live them she must. Consider: Poverty. One is either wealthy and living a life of luxury, i.e., un-necessary things, the opposite of which is a certain frugality tending to real asceticism. Otherwise, how will she save her soul?

Poverty is undoubtedly the most difficult of the three evangelical counsels for anyone living a single life in the world and sincerely trying to follow Christ according to His own conditions. Just consider those three chapters in St. Matthew’s Gospel, chapters 5,6 and 7, containing the Sermon on the Mount and addressed to all who would believe in Him and therefore, follow him according to His calling and conditions. In my opinion, it is simply a matter of priorities. “Seek first the Kingdom of God…” – It is simply a matter of what and how the first is FIRST. Everyone living in the world is obliged to practice OBEDIENCE, to the precepts of the Church and to one’s confessor or spiritual director. And chastity speaks for itself. What is not mentioned or emphasized enough is Prayer! St. Paul says we must pray without ceasing. St. Theresa of Avila would perhaps identify this as the Prayer of Recollection. What a great Grace it is!

Perhaps we can learn much by comparing Our Lord’s Temptations in the Desert with those of Eve and Adam in the Garden.

Our Lord’s First Temptation was to work a miracle, turning stones to bread, in order to satisfy His hunger in a gluttonously, instantaneous, that is impatient manner – as when one is ravenously hungry. It is one of the virtues of civilization to surround the animal necessity of eating with an elaborate system of manners – the do’s and don’ts of table etiquette. And it is traditionally something that pertains to the woman to supply and teach and enforce – even so far as insisting that the man “carve” the meat and serve the portions. After all, he is the Provider. It is certainly fair to say that Our Lord here atoned for every sin involving food, from the prolonged luxurious pleasure of the rich to the ravenous satisfaction of the starving – even – also – to the shopping mall pleasures of selection. For He had within Him, the Feminine love, even lust for viewing and grasping that is inherent in the shopping mania peculiar to the modern woman in the midst of superfluous choices. Our Lord’s rebuke to Lucifer/Satan is, of course, all important. “Not by bread alone doth man live, but by every word that proceeds from the Mouth of God.” (Deut.8:3.) Like so many of Our Lord’s admonitions, this one, too, is EXTREME, or so it seems. And yet, the Church has always exhorted us to the virtue of temperance, especially in food and drink, and all other pleasures of the Flesh – involving necessities of life. In fact, temperance is one of the four cardinal – natural virtues, necessary for natural health.

Now, let’s recall that Adam and Eve enjoyed at this time, the high state of innocence and original justice. They were in the highest state of sanctifying grace, from whence flowed all the pre-ternatural gifts they possessed. But Lucifer/Satan possessed a power apparently unknown to the beautiful simplicity of God’s children. Lucifer was subtle, that is, he was cunningly and maliciously deceitful. He was something… truly virtuous souls do not know how to be. In a word, he was tricky. It was not a playful trickery, but a deeply malicious and cunning intent to destroy by deception. And so he did. In the absence of Adam, her “other and better half”, Lucifer presented to Eve the opportunity to gain something she lacked! The masculine power of knowledge by intellection. He engaged her in debate, something she should have refused at once – on the very basis of her femininity. It is always for the man and his masculine mind to engage in dialectical issues. And Lucifer knows this – so he temped Eve with a question: “Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree in Paradise?” And the woman answered him: “of the fruit of the trees that are in Paradise we do eat. But of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of Paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat – and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.” And the Serpent said to the woman: “No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened – and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil. “ And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold. And she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat and gave to her husband, who did eat. And the eyes of both of them were opened and when they perceived themselves to be naked. They sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons….” – (Gen.3:1-7).

Notice how Lucifer distorts God’s commandment making it appear unjust that they were not allowed to eat of EVERY tree in Paradise. But Eve corrects him, probably feeling very good about herself as she defends God’s command to this Arch Deceiver! And so, she very imprudently gives Lucifer an opening, wherein he can insert his BIG LIE! And his outright denial! And his “little” very telling addition. Apparently, he knew MORE about the future, than she did! (This may be objected – Lucifer did not know the future as God did). Had not his testing revealed more than Eve could have dreamed – of tears and sorrow, unknown until then, and at what a price of transitory pleasure! But we must remember that Eve was bathed in the Supernatural Light of Innocence and Justice. I think it is only when we begin to realize the immensity of the height to which Adam and Eve had been raised, and from which they fell by some unfathomable degree of prideful and ambitious malice – that we can also begin to understand some little bit of why Our Divine Lord had to undergo such atrocious sufferings in order to redeem us, in order to satisfy the outrageous insult and offense given to the Creator by His first two human children – upon whom He had heaped such favors.

Truly, the Scriptures are “divine” as the Fathers and Doctors described them. The “Bible” is not a human book. It was most certainly dictated by the Holy Ghost, so that there is no error in it, from the plain, pure historical narrative of Genesis – to the highly and most sacred symbolism of the Apocalypse.

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