Several months ago when writing this blog post I wasn’t thinking anything more would come of it. However like most things I need to sit with it, ponder them before responding to them. I gotta think. So Holy Friday on my way home I listened to Mark Hart on Lino Rulli’s Catholic Guy Show. The discussion, a reflection on the events of Good Friday being celebrated, included a reflection on Mary, Jesus’ mom that quieted my mind and heart. I had to listen. And pay attention to driving.
Mark shared a conversation with a Bishop. (This is not word for word) The Bishop asked Mark to share his thoughts on how Mark saw Mary at the Cross, what would she be going? If he were there with her what would he be doing and saying? Mark thought (and I’ll admit I did too) that he would be comforting her through all of the pain and heartache of watching her child suffer and die in a horrific way. I can not begin to imagine. Well, way to flip it, the Bishop said Mark, we’ve got it all wrong here Mary would be offering comfort and support to those around her, reminding them of God’s promises and ultimately his Love for us. Talk about the strength of a woman.
The rift between us and God created through the sinful/pride-filled action & inaction of Adam & Eve is fully restored in this moment with the New Adam, the New Eve and the tree that ultimately bore the life-giving fruit that God intended. We are restored. And by we I mean both man and woman. We as women are restored, loved and set free to be fully who God calls us to be. Now just because God has restored this beauty it does not mean that people have restored this beauty nor does it mean that the full meaning of this action will be understood and lived.
And just so ya know – the guys are still working on getting it right. We all have to grow and become through learning to live our lives in a way that loves deeply, passionately, caringly, mindful of others and of ourselves. We need to find that good in others. Sometimes I do really well and sometimes I fail. Miserably. However we start anew through growth, time and experience.
John Paul II starts this Apostolic letter off with this:
1. THE DIGNITY AND THE VOCATION OF WOMEN – a subject of constant human and Christian reflection – have gained exceptional prominence in recent years. This can be seen, for example, in the statements of the Church’s Magisterium present in various documents of the Second Vatican Council, which declares in its Closing Message: “The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at his moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling”.1 This Message sums up what had already been expressed in the Council’s teaching, specifically in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes2 and in the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem.3
Similar thinking had already been put forth in the period before the Council, as can be seen in a number of Pope Pius XII’s Discourses4 and in the Encyclical Pacem in Terris of Pope John XXIII.5 After the Second Vatican Council, my predecessor Paul VI showed the relevance of this “sign of the times”, when he conferred the title “Doctor of the Church” upon Saint Teresa of Jesus and Saint Catherine of Siena,6 and likewise when, at the request of the 1971 Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, he set up a special Commission for the study of contemporary problems concerning the “effective promotion of the dignity and the responsibility of women”.7 In one of his Discourses Paul VI said: “Within Christianity, more than in any other religion, and since its very beginning, women have had a special dignity, of which the New Testament shows us many important aspects…; it is evident that women are meant to form part of the living and working structure of Christianity in so prominent a manner that perhaps not all their potentialities have yet been made clear”.8
The next few days will be full and I’ll come back to this over the weekend.
And yes it’ll be related to quilting.