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Sunday, 10 May 2015

“Long live the difference”

from the Stanbrook Edition of Interior Castle....

.... dealing with the purgation of the soul by mortification and the enlightenment of the mind by meditation. There, too, appears the first idea of the Mansions, [25] and Fuente remarks that the passage in question may be taken for the parting of the ways between the two works. However, this is not the only, nor, indeed, the chief reason why St. Teresa is so reticent about the preliminary stage of the contemplative life. The fact is that she herself did not pass through these experiences. By God's grace she was preserved from childhood from grievous sin and gross imperfection. Though she never grows tired of bewailing her faults and unfaithfulness, these avowals must be taken cum grano salis. While yet a child, she sometimes gave way to vanity in dress and wasted her time in reading romances. As a young religious, she was sought after by friends and relatives who took pleasure in her attractive conversation. This proved further loss of time and caused distractions. Owing to acute suffering, she for some years left off the practice of mental prayer, though she faithfully performed all her religious obligations, as far as her weak state of health allowed. This is all. The war of the flesh against the spirit, the insubordination of the lower parts of nature, the fickleness of the will, which so often thwart the most noble aspirations of a soul, were unknown to her. Under these circumstances, we cannot be surprised to find her entering upon the journey towards God at a point which in many cases marks but the closing stage.

St. Teresa was a strong woman, protected from serious sin by her loving family and her good Catholic upbringing. Yet, her love of God was obvious from little on.

Her strength of will, like that of so many female saints, did not mean that she was not feminine. Her writings reveal a very feminine woman.

Wondering how far androgyny and ssm  can destroy "Vive la différence", I have been pondering the beautiful femininity and masculinity of the saints. Now, some confusion exists on the mystical experiences of those men who experienced Christ as Lover, and many nasty commentators and authors on line and in horrible, sacriligous books. To accept Christ as Love is not to be either gay or perverted. Some men are afraid of a close relationship with God because they do not understand pure love.

Purgation of the senses and spirit allow one to love God properly, but the theme of this post is not the misconceptions of the Love of God, but on the real female and male traits of the great saints.

We take for granted that some saints seem masculine, for example, like the soldier-saints, Martin, Demetrious, George, Victor, the saints of the Theban Legion and so on. Many examples or military saints dot the calendar . We have emperor saints and king saints, father saints, and great founders of orders, such as Dominic and Ignatius, who could never be seen as wimps.

On the feminine side, we have such saints as Etheldreda, abbess over a dual-monastery, Catherine of Sienna, Zita the little cook, Lucy, Agnes and the young martyrs as examples of womanhood and holiness. To be feminine is not to be weak.

The lists of saints who show us how to be men and women in Christ seems endless. But, in our sad world of gender confusion, these examples have been lost except for a few home schooling families, who daily teach their children the lives of the saints, following either or both the NO and EF calendars.

Byzantine saints also reveal masculine and feminine traits given to us by God in nature and raised to the supernatural level by God's grace. One readily thinks of St. Nicholas, a real man, bishop, leader of his people in hard times and one of the Byzantines, as well as the Roman Catholics most popular saints.

SS. Marcina and Gregory of Nysssa compliment each other as sister and brother in blood as well as in Christ.

Irene and Olga, strong women and empresses, remind us that one can be, like Etheldreda, both strong and holy.

Modern women saints, such as St. Benedicta of the Cross, and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, a gentle saint who is a great sigh of hope for us today, as she faced so much persecution alone, 

Let us pray to Kateri using the words of the Pope Emeritus: 

“St. Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first American Indian saint, we entrust you to the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America.”

I hope future generations keep remembering that God created us male and female, both genders to be made whole and holy through His graces. And, hey, read this on one big reason for the weakening of men in today's world, and one cannot blame women, like Adam blamed Eve, for these sins. But, sex education should not happen in any school, but at home, by parents.