I have a confession to make.
It is a confession that may scandalize some, and worry others – those who are yet to understand.
But it is truth, a truth that I hold dear to my heart, and that truth is this:
I absolutely love my role as a woman.
I absolutely, flat-out, head-over-heels, glowing with joy – love it.
To think of it brings me such delight, amazement, wonder, awe, and gratitude that simply has begun to never end.
It is a gift so high, and a responsibility so great, that I can only reach, in my broken littleness, to the great vessel of influence herself for help – Mary, Mediatrix of all graces, and Co-Redemptrix of the human race.
When I see her, symbolically standing there before me through some statue or image, I see the perfection of so much that I am called to be.
A Harmony of Appreciation
And when I look upon the noble role of the masculine, in all of its aspects, laying the strong foundation as he does and handing it to the feminine to perfect, I feel something of that delight that both the masculine and feminine sides of God must feel as they work together in perfect harmony.
The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the provider and the perfecter – both deeply appreciating and admiring their opposite for all that it is and does.
How could I not feel the way that I do, once I understood all that I did?
To not admire, appreciate, and hold in great esteem the opposite – either the masculine or the feminine, whichever it may be – is to show a terrible lack of gratitude and love for what God created the other to both be and do.
When two are meant to work together, each profoundly contributing and filling in what the other lacks, but either one or both refuses to look with joy and admiration upon what the opposite gives of itself to complete the great, grand work of God – is pure unappreciative, ungrateful, selfish scandal.
It is madness – a madness of the worst kind.
It throws everything out of harmony and makes the balance, the natural give and take, the perfect flow between the two, stop and become a broken, disjointed nothing that prefers to stand on its own rather than be all that it was called to be.
No, I love my role, and I love that harmony, for in understanding the great dignity of what I was made to be, and in truly appreciating it, I am able to relinquish any sense that the other threatens who I am.
There, in that space of deep gratitude, I can look upon the opposite with nothing but pure admiration and love for all that they fill in where I lack – and vice versa.
- To be a man – to lay the foundation, to provide the beginning, to protect in strength, to be needed in such an inherent way, to have that authority – what a gift!
- To be a woman – to be given that foundation, to build upon it, to bring it to fruition and perfection, to raise it to glory as St. Paul says, to have that influence – what a joy!
Which could say that they are better, which could claim that only they matter?
They would both be mad to try – and they would break that perfect harmony that can only exist when appreciation and understanding are rooted deep.
I say it once again – I love my role as the feminine, and I love and appreciate that of the masculine as well.
It is perfect beyond words.
Where to Begin?
But where, you may ask, can most women begin to claim this great influence, this ability to perfect all that the masculine provides, and contribute it to the salvation of the world?
Not all women are called to the state of a religious vocation, that vocation of which I briefly explored in two of my posts (here and here), where with their prayers and sacrifices from the contemplative level they help bring the works of priests and the Church to perfection.
And not all are called to the state of an active religious, working alongside our priests, which I explored in the same two posts linked above, where through their maternal heart they do what only a woman can.
Many are, instead, asked to remain in the world – either as single women or married, mothers or not.
Where, one may ask, besides coming to an understanding of their own worth deep in their hearts, can their visible contribution begin?
What can they do today to speak to the world in a voice that others can not miss?
A Force That Speaks Without Saying a Word
In my last five posts, I have struggled to explain the influence that every woman contains, and our world seems to have forgotten, in the core of her being.
Regardless of her age or her looks – if she is five or a hundred and five – covered in wrinkles and flaws or blessed with perfect beauty – it does not matter how the external may naturally appear, for it cannot diminish what she was born to give.
Our enemy, the old tempter, knows this all too well, and in our modern world it is he who has claimed influence for his own.
He has given it the wrong name, defined it in all the incorrect ways, and as a result our civilization is on the brink of chaos (if it is not already there).
The old enemy knows that while authority is needed to speak, influence is not.
It is a power all its own, that need not necessarily say a word to do all that it can.
Like Adam in the garden of Eden, who watched silently as the serpent tempted Eve, a word of authority never escaping his lips – all that it took was a glance from Eve, a gesture of offering, a hand extended…and history collided with influence gone wrong.
All the enemy had to do was convince Eve, and there was nothing more that needed to be said.
Her actions would do the rest.
Do we not see this every day of our lives?
Think for a moment of the women you meet on a daily basis, before we even consider the ones plastered upon billboards, adds, images and TV, as larger than life.
Try today, or tomorrow, as you go about your public life, to study those that cross your path.
What do they say to you, without speaking a word?
- When you see a woman pass you by, dressed in tight jeans, what does that symbolically say?
- When you glimpse a little girl, dressed immodestly or beyond her years, what does it promise she will become?
- When you see an old lady, with her arms uncovered and her skirt too short, what does it suggest?
- When your eyes fall upon a girl dressed in clothes that are barely there, what is it intended to make you feel?
Do we ever think that such a simple thing, as how a woman chooses to dress, every morning of her life – can change the world?
We do not, but our enemy does.
He does so often and so well that he even made something as seemingly simple as the clothing of women one of the prime targets in his blueprint to destroy all that is good in the Church – and in our world.
Let us listen to his voice, unmasked from its lies:
- “In order to destroy Catholicism, it is necessary to commence by suppressing woman… But since we cannot suppress woman, let us corrupt her…” (Letter of Vindez to Nubius, pen names of two leaders of the Alta Vendita, the highest lodge of the Italian Carbonari, Masonic revolutionaries, Aug. 9, 1838.)
- “Religion does not fear the dagger’s point; but it can vanish under corruption. Let us not grow tired of corruption: we may use a pretext, such as sport, hygiene, health resorts. It is necessary to corrupt, that our boys and girls practice nudism in dress. To avoid too much reaction, one would have to progress in a methodical manner: first, undress up to the elbow; then up to the knees; then arms and legs completely uncovered; later, the upper part of the chest, the shoulders, etc. etc.” (International Review on Freemasonry, 1928.)
You see, such words reveal a truth that we have not been told – that there was a plan formed centuries ago.
It was begun by the diabolic, and guided under the hands of humans – and it has succeeded all too well.
Many Catholic women have fallen for it, as previous Pope’s lamented, and current ones have barely commented upon:
- “The good of our soul is more important than that of our body; and we have to prefer the spiritual welfare of our neighbor to our bodily comforts… If a certain kind of dress constitutes a grave and proximate occasion of sin, and endangers the salvation of your soul and others, it is your duty to give it up…” – Pope Pius XI
And lest we think that this is all nonsense, and that what we wear truly does not matter as our world seems to so subtly proclaim, let us remember the words of Pope Pius XII:
“Society reveals what it is by the clothes it wears.“
A woman reveals all that she believes, thinks, and holds dear, by what she chooses to wear.
Her visual witness is her influence at work in her life, and the lives of all who see her form.
And given her inherent power of influence that I have tried in so many posts to explain, an influence that can often speak more powerfully without saying a word than a man, we have to admit that the right decisions can be just as powerful to work for good as the wrong ones are to work for evil.
In other words, women who are called to be in the world, you have the power to help make things right.
Reclaiming the Sacred Finally Begins
In my travels, I have been blessed to see many traditional parishes frequented by a vast kaleidoscope of women.
Some have greatly edified me with the choices that they have made, while others have left me wanting.
Along the way, I have even refined my own way of dressing to one that I have to admit brings me great and humble joy.
But since an image is worth a thousand words, I will here share with you some that I have captured, and let you ask yourself – how powerfully do they speak next the images that you see on those who choose otherwise?
- What does the veil say, compared to a barren head?
- What does the loose skirt (of appropriate length) suggest, next to those who prefer the pants of man?
Can we read the symbolism which Cardinal Siri of Italy wrote about in 1960, in a letter entitled “Notification Concerning Men’s Dress Worn by Women,” who expressed his concern that the visual symbol of pants would drastically modify all that is good about a woman, from her gestures, to her attitudes and behaviors?
Can we remember the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says that:
Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity, to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. (2521). Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. . . . Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. (2522). Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and prevailing ideologies. (2523).
Can we agree with the great and holy Padre Pio, who once told a woman to return to Canada and discard all of the pants that she was selling from her shop, and return in a modest skirt, before he would even begin to confess her?
While I did not set out on my journey to photograph mantillas and ladies in skirts that speak boldly of their dignity, I did grab a few with my amateur photography along the way, and so here they are.
I hope that you enjoy!
So what will your choice be?
How will you speak to the world of what you believe that you, and all of womankind, is worth?
If you wonder what you will say to those who ask why you do what you do, take my answer which I freely share:
“Because my dignity and worth demands it, and if you knew yours (or the worth of the women in your lives) you would do the same (or encourage them to do also) and be a visible witness that can help change the world.”
Join the battle – speak for the truth – even without saying a word.
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