Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I am Woman, Hear Me Cry: The Feminine Genius
I’ve been feeling a bit more sensitive today than usual, and sometimes it bugs me a little bit to be a woman, what with all this awareness of others, their needs, their feelings – not to mention my own emotional ups and downs. I think that women these days are often asked to not show too much emotion – “don’t be so sensitive,” “man up,” and “don’t take things so personally” are some phrases that come to mind here. But I want to share with you something wonderful I remembered today about womanly sensitivity – that it is not at all a curse, but is actually part of what Pope John Paul II so beautifully referred to as the ‘feminine genius’! In fact, he goes so far as to say that:
“Woman is endowed with a particular capacity for accepting the human being in his concrete form. Even this singular feature which prepares her for motherhood, both emotionally and spiritually, is inherent in the plan of God who entrusted the human being to woman in an altogether special way. The woman of course, as much as the man, must take care that her sensitivity does not succumb to the temptation to possessive selfishness, and must put it at the service of authentic love. On these conditions she gives of her best, everywhere adding a touch of generosity, tenderness, and joy of life” (The Feminine Genius, 2).
What an amazing thought! Women can truly receive the human being concretely – she alone accepts new human life into her womb, and protects and nourishes that life through her keen awareness of and sensitivity to the other within her own being. If any of you have been around pregnant women (or have been one yourself), you know how emotional these little ladies can be. They are always feeling ‘sensitive’ and taking things ‘personally,’ right? But that’s a good thing, and necessary! Without that sensitive and personal awareness of the life not only around her but within her, she would easily “succumb to the temptation to possessive selfishness” to which JP II referred. “MY body, MY rights, MY choice” – sound familiar?
So let’s celebrate the feminine genius, emotions and sensitivity and all! Ladies, why not break out your favorite chick flick tonight, have a good cry, and then go give someone a hug – you’ll know who needs one most because you’re sensitive and you take things personally. And, thanks be to God, that’s nothing to be ashamed of!