In my never-ending pondering upon the value of men and women, I finally came to a point where I had to admit one very solid truth.
The battle of the sexes is absolutely pointless, because it can never be won.
Every time I would find a handful of things about one sex that made it seem “superior” to the other, I would find just as many things about the other that made it seem even better of its own accord.
- Men seemed stronger, larger, grander, more powerful – with that whole “authority” thing running around the core.
- Yet women were clearly more beautiful, more refined, more versatile, more life-giving – and more “influential.” (Influential? See below for more…)
Nothing I did could make one or the other gender “win,” and I finally had to admit the reason why: because each is made to fill in where the other lacks.
And yet, in our fallen human nature, lets admit it: it can sometimes be hard to take (for both genders).
We do not like to be found lacking.
Yet when men and women look at one another, and compare themselves, they have to both admit: they each lack some of the things that the other has – in a very striking way.
To Be Found Lacking: Men vs. Women
For example, men sometimes admit to feeling de-masculinized, not needed by women, even questioning what their purpose is if, in a modern world, those they love seem to need them less and less.
At times some do not know if they should open a door for a woman, for fear she will stare him down in feminist scorn, or they are unsure if they should treat her as a lady for fear she might see it as disrespect.
Many cow to the culture, wanting so much to please, yet loosing all that they offer along the way.
Some can be afraid to be weak, show emotion, or even cry if times get bad, and in turn they overcompensate with large toys, cold hearts, immature scorn, and self-aggrandizing dreams.
They can fear a woman’s wrath, her displeasure in him, and the sense that they have failed to make her happy as they could.
Others, selfish on far too many counts, revel in the modern fall of woman, and use it to their own advantage in many a disheartening way.
They could care less to know what a gentleman is, and are happy being as crude as they can.
Women, on the other hand, sometimes feel as though men do not truly value them for who they inherently are.
Women know the disdainful scorn, the tendency to objectify, or the negativity towards the sensitive realm.
Yet for all that they are told, the feminine gender knows that they can be just as strong, just as capable, just as tough, just as independent as a man – sometimes even more so.
They recognize that they are not the “weak little woman” culture has often told them they can be. They understand it inherently – after all, they realize it was the men who fled at the crucifixion, not the women.
Was that not feminine bravery equal to the courage of any true man?
They know it is women who often love long, giving all that they have and self-sacrificing until they have nothing left to give.
Yet why are they then sometimes put down by men, as weak and incapable?
When an entire family can often rest on their heart, why are they treated as if they matter even less?
It all comes down to our fallen state.
No one wants to be found lacking, and in our tendency towards pride, many seek some way to put the opposite gender down the best that they can.
This is why I believe that the priest from my last post - the one who got as far as admitting the greatness of man, but then could not bring himself to turn to that of woman – may have been unable to take that final step.
He could not admit the likewise greatness of the woman, because he may have felt threatened by all of the issues that it contains.
If he was to cross that line, and admit that woman was created last in a hierarchical system, he knew that it would raise many questions, especially this:
“If she was created after man, then doesn’t she have authority over man?”
Maybe he felt he could not handle such a step, or did not understand it, and so he let it go at that.
But if we keep our heads on straight, keep pride out of the picture (or any deep-seated issues we may have with the other sex) and stay balanced, what treasures we could mine if we just began!
Then we would see an infinite mystery, circling around and around again, never-ending in love and admiration, and always picking up where the other leaves off.
So if he had tackled the final issue, if he had crossed that line, what would have happened?
If woman was created last in a hierarchical creation, what exactly does that mean?
Authority, Influence, & The Fall of Humankind
The answer to the above question can be found in the continuing story of Adam and Eve.
There, in those earliest of times, we see two genders existing in perfect harmony: there are no “issues” between them, no sense of “disdain” – only humble, self-forgetting appreciation, one for the other, in all that they see.
But then, that deadly, nasty little snake slips into the Paradise, and makes his way over to our lovely Eve.
Do you ever wonder, why did he go to Eve first?
Some like to say it was because she was so “weak.”
A “man,” they say, would have never listened to such a creature, only a little “woman” without any “common sense.”
But look at the story – was she alone?
Was Eve standing by herself as the snake attempted to tempt her to his ways?
No, Adam was standing right there next to her all along.
Adam heard every word, saw every slithering movement, perhaps felt every ugly breath – and he could have acted.
He could have done what he was born to do – protect Eve from anything that would threaten to tear her down.
But he didn’t – he simply stood there, standing, listening, and waiting.
But for what?
For Eve to decide.
Adam allowed Eve to choose, and permitted himself to follow suit with whatever decision she would make.
Had Eve refused the apple, Adam most likely would have as well.
Yet she did not, and as a result, neither did Adam in turn.
This is something that the serpent understood – and it is why he went to the feminine first.
He knew that, since Eve was created last, she held a certain “influence” over Adam that he did not over her.
Not authority, but influence.
What is the difference, you may ask?
It is simple.
Authority comes from the realm of the intellect – from that of strength, grandeur, protection and power – while influence emanates from the realm of the heart.
Take, for example, my comparison of the raw nature of the earth combined with the feminine aspects of nature as explored in my last post.
The earth, being larger and grander, full of volcanic, cataclysmic potential, exercises an authority over nature – being the foundation, it can decide where the lines are drawn.
Nature cannot go outside those lines, but has to act within.
After all, nature cannot decide the earth will be bigger than it is and start growing trees in space.
Yet it is nature who brings earth to life, and influences all that occurs within our planet – as long as the authority (the earth) allows it to continue on by not reverting to cataclysmic mode, or revolving to close or too far from the sun.
Yet between authority and influence, guess which one can often have the greatest effect?
You got it.
So back to Adam and Eve.
Maybe Adam would not have taken the apple if the snake had gone to him first – maybe he would have. We cannot know for sure.
But either way, the great liar of history knew that if he went to Eve, and succeeded there, his work was most likely done with Adam without any more effort on his part.
So I think, IMHO, why the priest did not continue, either consciously or not, may be for the reason that I gave above – a fear to face the truth that woman holds a certain sway over man just as man does over woman – only far different.
But oh, if only he had!
If only he had continued, and spoken the truth for all that it is worth!
If only so many others would as well!
What would become of this world?
If enough good women understood their inherent power of influence, how things would change!
The Work of Reclaiming the Sacred Begins With Reclaiming “Influence”
If we honestly look at history, we will see that the two greatest events in all of the world began with a woman.
- Humankind fell because a woman was tempted, and made the wrong choice – causing man to follow in her steps.
- Humankind was redeemed because a woman excelled in true grace, and made all the right choices – paving the way for the savior to be born.
What influence a woman has!
Do we not realize that the realm of the heart, which the woman is, has such a great influence on our lives?
Even Catholics know what influence Mary has with her Son (which is why they often turn to her) – He will not deny her anything that she asks!
Do we not also see the influence of the heart at work in our own existence?
How often can our hearts lead us astray, when our feelings become so powerful, and our thoughts seem like meaningless forces against a multitude of strong desires?
Yet we also understand that if our intellect is sharpened, it can rule our heart – have authority over it – and protect it from making the most stupid of mistakes.
But that takes great strength – the manly strength of true developed authority.
Yet, even that masculine authority must recognize and see the equally great power of feminine influence – and grant it its long deserved due.
Without it, the sacred can never be reclaimed, for it needs the influence of women to powerfully lead in a way that authority cannot – and vice versa.
They need to work together.
So What About Women Priests?
I can just imagine that there may be some out there right now, fretting that my next step is the avocation of women priests.
Yet if they truly understood my train of thought, they would know that it is the farthest from such a strange thing.
I could pull out all of the timeless arguments about how the man stands in the place of Christ, and those are all fine and good, but there is another that I would like to propose (if it has not been already).
In the natural realm, is it not the man who traditionally wins the bread that feeds his family?
Is it not the man who protects his family, not only with his life, but by providing the most basic essentials, such as food and shelter?
When they sit down to break this “bread,” and share a meal that will sustain their bodies in the course of life, is it not traditionally the man who offers the prayer of thanksgiving to God for all that he, through his earthly labor, has obtained?
If it is so for the masculine in the material realm, is it not the same in the spiritual as well?
It is the man, the priest, who brings the Bread of Life to us, just as the human father brings the bread of the mortal body to his own.
One nourishes his earthly family, while the other nourishes his spiritual family.
Why should we want it any other way?
It is the man who stands at the altar, taking upon his shoulders that great responsibility of bringing to those that are his the most basic and essential of all spiritual necessities – the Body and Blood of Christ himself, our Lord and Savior.
Why should a woman desire to do this in his place?
The man, the priest, is simply doing what men were created to do from the beginning of time – provide the most sturdy and basic of essentials.
(If you have not read my last post, I strongly recommend doing so at this point, for it will provide great insight into what those essentials are.)
If it is so in the earthly realm, it is so in the spiritual too.
When God the Father looks down upon the priest standing at the altar, offering such spiritual food for those that are his, he sees the man fulfilling his duty in the highest of realms – being the masculine, and acting as the masculine principle does both in nature and in Heaven (by Heaven I am referring to the masculine and feminine elements as reflected within God).
If God was to look upon the sacrifice of the Mass and see a woman in the male gender’s place, God would probably feel sad.
I imagine that He would see her intention, and feel compassion for her misguided motives, but He would feel displeased that she was trying to make herself into something that she is not – the masculine force.
Through her actions, she is saying to God that she is the masculine element, and that she should be winning the spiritual bread for others.
She ignores that it is the masculine earth that provides the basic elements for feminine nature on the lowest plane, while man provides the basics for his family on the middle plane, and that in Heaven it is the masculine side of God that provides the basics for the feminine one.
She insists it should not matter what is her gender – that she should be able to be masculine as well and do these same things.
But God does notice gender, for he created it for a reason – to function as he desired it to.
God probably looks upon her, perhaps sighs, and maybe says, “I did not create you to emanate the masculine elements of my nature. You were created to emanate the treasured feminine principle – and that is also an incredible blessing that you simply seem to neither fully appreciate or understand, for you cannot see that it works, and is responded to, in the spiritual dimension, just as it works and is responded to on earth. You cannot throw my decisions out so easily, for you will upset a very delicate balance on every level of time and space if you do.”
He may even say to her:
- “Do you not understand the influence I have gifted you with? That through the choices you will make in life – from how you dress, to how you act, to how you live and treat others – from the very nature of your presence – regardless of how physically beautiful you consider yourself or not – regardless of how young or old – you instill into the heart of the world the influence to turn to Me? Man lacks this – just as you lack his authority. But neither is better. Both are so powerful, and so needed. Why do you fight against Me? Let me do all the good through you that I long to. Let me change the world through you. Through you, let me give birth to a creation and civilization that loves Me.”
If only men and women could both have that penetrating humility of the first parents, before the fall.
Then we would stop trying to promote and trump one gender over the other, for they would both deeply appreciate the mystery contained in the opposite creation.
Man would recognize, celebrate, and appreciate the powerful, influence of the heart (women), and women would be so grateful for the great authority of man (often misunderstood, but I will have to save that for another post), which is meant to support them and provide the basics of all that they need – in both the material and spiritual realms – so that they can in turn influence the world as they so do.
What a divine mystery!
If only both men and women alike could see it for what it truly is!
Then we could really begin to reclaim the sacred for all that it is truly worth.
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