May 23, 2015

I have a strong aversion to the word “submission”, most especially when it’s used in reference to women and marriage?  When I hear the word all these images come flooding into my mind: images of domination, inferiority, doormats and indentured servitude, deference in stupid things, husbands using their strength to hurt their wives physically, psychologically, mentally and women meekly submitting themselves to it all. There are a whole lot of negative biases I’ve acquired over the years and I don’t think I’m the only one. 
May 14, 2015

The Annunciation by Masucci
 
I’ve been thinking a lot about the advice singles often hear: guard your heart.  Good advice, and I will write about it later, but that advice has got me thinking about receptivity.  Reading Alice von Hildebrand, Edith Stein, Pope St. John Paul II and others, receptivity is mentioned as a feminine gift.  If it is a gift, it must be good, right?  If it is good, then I’m glad to have it… but I realized I haven’t really thought about what the gift actually is.  I’d like to share a few thoughts about the gift of receptivity – unfinished, still seeking thoughts, and hope to hear from you what this gift means to you.
May 8, 2015
As The Feminine Gift grows and changes, we will be welcoming new writers to our little community.  The following is a post written by Becca,  a grad student and part-time blogger over at Faith& Peanut Butter.  When not buried in books, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and messing about outdoors. 


Just over a year ago I went through a really difficult break-up. It was very challenging but through it all I really felt the presence of God. One thing that really helped me through the restlessness as the months passed was delving into the mystery of my own feminine heart and learning about what JPII called “the Feminine Genius”. Looking at a woman’s heart and intuition has taken theology, and my own prayer life, to an entirely different level!

At some point during that autumn I read a beautiful blog post about one of the frescos in the Sistine Chapel: the renowned “Creation of Adam”. In this famous fresco, completed by Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1510, the focus is most often placed on Adam and the awkward handshake a little reminiscent of E.T. But it is the presence of Eve that really intrigues me… If you look closely, you see her positioned under the Father’s arms on the right side of the fresco, within the red cloak and surrounded by the angels.



With reference to Eve, Fr. Jacob Bertrand writes:
The red cloak that kind of swishes around both of them, if you notice looks kind of like a brain from left to right (the frontal lobe is there on the left). Then if you were to rotate the brain (mind) one turn to the left, you will notice that it looks like a heart (notice the ventricles). It is here that Michelangelo is making the theological point that is so important for all young women and men to know as they date: Woman (Eve) is meant to be kept in the mind and heart of God and Man (Adam) is only capable of truly seeing her through the mind and heart of God.”
So cool, amirite?

As women, our intuition, receptivity, and maternity (both spiritual and physical) bring us closer to the heart and mind of God. Perhaps this is why women are never satisfied; we have a capacity for the infinite!! Union with the heart and mind of God inevitably leads to a divine restlessness.

This past June I went on an epic pilgrimage, walking the Camino Frances and then visiting Rome. On my last day in the Eternal City, I visited the Vatican Museum specifically to check out the Creation of Adam. We were packed like sardines into the Sistine Chapel—it was literally standing room only that warm and sticky day in Rome—but as I gazed up at that fresco, time seemed to stop. I revelled in the thought that I am able to uniquely know the heart and mind of God. I felt the Lord making a promise to me…to safeguard my heart and gently prepare me for my future vocation.

Maya Angelou, a personal hero of mine, has said: “A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

God is gentle and loving and wants to give you the desires of your heart—but first and foremost, He wants you. So with Valentine’s Day behind us and the promise of spring around the corner, why not meditate on the spiritual truth that both Michelangelo and Maya Angelou hone in on? Dig into the beauty of your own feminine genius so that you can image God’s love to the world!
Want to read more? Check out this post on The Papist “Michelangelo’s Theology of the Body”


April 28, 2015

As The Feminine Gift grows and changes, we will be welcoming new writers to our little community.  The following is a post written by Alexa.  

I recently read an excellent article called “5 Reasons Every Man Should Love St. Joseph”. It’s a great read. I agree with everything the author says, particularly that St. Joseph is a great role model for men. This is something I always heard growing up in the Catholic Church. However, something I did not hear very often was St. Joseph that is also a wonderful model for women. I know you're raising your eyebrows, but let me state my case. In the past two years I have fallen head over heels in love with this man and here are just 5 reasons why I think every woman should love St. Joseph:

1. He is the ideal husband.
Sorry Oscar Wilde for stealing your line, but St. Joseph is the ideal husband. St. Joseph is the standard that you should look to when thinking of qualities you want in a future husband, or qualities you would like to aid your husband in attaining. Some of the amazing qualities of St. Joseph are that he is a man of integrity, chastity, and fortitude. He is a man who trusts in God, even when the situation seems impossible. He is man who respects women! No other man, other than Christ, has shown such a deep and profound respect for women. St. Joseph protected, supported and sacrificed day after day for Mary.  That is true love. That is the kind of man you want by your side.  That is the kind of man you have to strive in virtue to be worthy of. Because it goes both ways.  You're not going to get a St-Joseph-type man, if you are not willing to strive to be a Mary-type of woman.

2. He is a great father.
Now I am not a married woman, but as I get older and the more I look at the qualities of the men I find attractive, the question that goes through my mind over and over again is “will he be a good father?” This is a question woman should ask themselves when looking for a future spouse. You may find a man who can pull off mustard-yellow pants, who dances like Fred Astaire, and has the charm of Cary Grant, but would he make a great father? When you marry a man you are not the only one affected by your decision. If you settled for a man who you think is not that wonderful just so you can have a ring on your finger, chances are he won’t be that great of a father, and your future children will pay the price. St. Joseph shows what sort of role model a father should be. He is the kind of man that gives a good example to boys of what it really means to be a man, and shows girls that they are a treasure beyond compare, regardless of their size, beauty or intelligence. Because St. Joseph puts Christ first, he worked all his life to support Mary and Jesus. He protected them from evil and harm, he sought out the missing child Jesus, without rest, with Mary by his side. These are the qualities you want to see in the man who is trying to win your heart, or in the man who has already won your heart. It is hard in today's age to be a good father, so help a brother out and pray to St. Joseph for your future - or present - husband right now.

3. He is the protector of virgins.
Whether you are a virgin or a born again virgin, St. Joseph has got your back. I have first hand experience of St. Joseph's protection. As a single woman, often I find myself having to do things that married women take for granted, because their husbands do it for them. Such things as fixing my car, bathroom drawers, unclogging sinks, killing bugs and the list goes on. Many a prayer has gone up to St. Joseph as I screamed at the shoddy drawers in my apartment that were falling apart as I tried to screw them back together. Or when I could not get the hood of my car open and I was freaking out because I really, really needed to put in washer fluid. I said a prayer to St. Joe and out of nowhere a nice young man came and asked if I needed help and proceeded to open up my hood for me! So let me assure you, if you need help as a young or young-at-heart single woman, look no further. St. Joseph has got your back. He will also help you live a chaste life, because if anyone knows how hard it is to live a chaste life I think it would be the man who had to live a chaste life married to the most beautiful and perfect woman ever to grace the earth.

4. He is the model worker.
Whatever work you do, be it a student, mother, or a 9-to-5 office job, St. Joe is the man to look to. I know I am still learning what it means to work well, to take advantage of all the annoying daily occurrences in life. It may be putting up with a professor who is crazy, a child that misbehaves, or a coworker that won’t stop complaining to you about everything wrong in their lives. Whatever it is, St. Joseph shows us the path we need to follow in order to be a good worker. That means doing our best in the smallest tasks, every day. Because nothing was beneath this great man - he was a humble carpenter - he saw his work as his means of salvation. Whatever vocation we are called to do, we will have to work.  Whether we are mothers, career women or religious sisters we will be working so we better learn how to do a job well, and St. Joseph is the man to show us how.

5. He shows that a hidden life is just as valuable as a visible one.
What do I mean by this? Women often lead lives where we do many different tasks that are small yet, they are the essential fabric of life. Women tend to lead hidden lives.  We do a million jobs and yet seem to receive little accolades. I have many married friends who have now become mothers and if I have heard one complaint over and over it’s that the role of a stay-at-home mother seems to be taken for granted. I agree with my friends: society no longer values the role of stay-at-home mothers.  On the other hand, this society's values are ridiculous, so why do we care? Unfortunately we do. We still seem to care what society thinks. We want to be seen, we want applause when we change a diaper or fax a document because darn it, I am doing a lot of little tasks well! And these little tasks are vital to the running of a household or a business, yet no one is taking any notice! It may seem unfair and we can rant and rave feminist propaganda if we want, but it would be more worthwhile to see that a hidden life is a better life. St. Joseph led a hidden and silent life and look where he is now. He did not perform great actions, no heroic tasks but rather he did so many vital small tasks with great love and courage. He agreed to marry a Jewish girl who was already pregnant.  He walked across a desert with said Jewish girl and her son to keep them safe.  He worked all his life taking care of a child that was not his. He seemed to have done nothing grand and he said nothing worth writing about. Yet, he has become the standard of what it means to be a man and the standard a woman should look for in a man. His hidden life allowed Christ to do the greatest deed in the history of the world. So if you have never taken notice of St. Joseph before, you may want to send up a prayer to this man. I assure you he will hear you and take care of you.

********

Alexa is passionate about living her Catholic faith and fascinated by her femininity. "I have always been enthralled by the classic women of old like St. Therese, Katherine of Aragon, Edith Stein, to Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Rita Hayworth. I never liked the ideas of many radical feminists. I never saw the home as a prison for a woman, rather it was her canvas for creativity, where she was queen; free to rule with a gentle and kind heart. Saints like Joan of Arc and St. Theresa of the Cross showed the valour and strength of a woman yet they never rejected their femininity. Rather they showed that their strength, dignity , and gifts came from their femininity and to deny their feminine gifts was a disservice to their personhood. My thesis for my undergrad was all about what it means to be a woman of God and why God made women and men different. Other than an interest in femininity, I am working towards becoming a glamourous administrative assistant ;) I enjoy old movies, opera, good books, lots of coffee, and a good glass of wine. I also strive to live up to the title of Awesome Aunt to my five nieces and nephews."
 

April 20, 2015

Hello dear reader; we’re back!

We’re very sorry to have been away for so long – it certainly wasn’t a planned extended hiatus!  We had a thought about making some necessary changes to our look, and as neither of us (Sarah and Tess) know anything about, well, anything technological, a slight glitch turned into a derailment, which required a rethink and a reboot.

We found this lovely new template, and an extremely competent technologically-savvy person installed it for us, and while we may be working out a few kinks here and there over the next few days, this is essentially it: The Feminine Gift 3.0 (this is our third ‘look’).

The time away from regular posting has allowed for life to happen, for new topic ideas to percolate, and for the passion for our mission to be renewed – and all of the above were much needed.

We are very grateful for your patience and understanding, and for still being here.  As always, we’d love to hear from you: what do you think of the new look?  Can you find your way around? Is there something missing you’d like to see here?

Are there topics you’d like us to discuss?  And, here’s what we’d really like to know: have you ever thought you’d like to try your hand at writing? Is there an idea niggling away in the back of your mind that you’d like to put on paper and publish here at The Feminine Gift?

You can reach us through the comment box below this post, or email us at thefemininegift(at)gmail.com.

May the peace of our Risen Lord be with you!
Happy Easter,

Sarah and Tess

About



What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in one way or another, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. So sit with us a while and ponder the Feminine Gift.

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