Burleigh makes the observation that the feminine capacity for self-donation is a root cause of their vulnerability, and that part of female maturity is learning how to give wisely and well, as she said, “the right thing, the right person, the right circumstances.” It is here that Catholics can gladly turn to the example of Our Lady. She is the model for women; she is the beacon to be followed out of the present (and in fact ancient) tangle that women find themselves in.
In my columns about men, I wrote that Satan hates God and all that God created. Satan schemes to destroy what is human—which is the crown of God’s creation. Satan hates authentic masculinity, and so seeks to undermine it and replace it with something that is unnatural and therefore ungodly. Satan’s hatred for the human (and hence the masculine) is also seen in his hatred of the feminine. Pope Saint John Paul II notes in his ”Mulieris Dignitatem” (30):
We see in Genesis 3 that the serpent sows mistrust in the heart of Eve. Her failure to trust God and His covenant (along with the failure of Adam) bring about catastrophe. God’s plan for humanity seems undone almost at its inception. But God speaks with the firm determination of a most stubborn love in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” In the divine plan, the rift caused by the lies of the serpent and the mistrust of Eve will be undone by truth and trust. Here we can turn to a book that deserves to be reprinted by its publisher.
Joyce Little, in her marvelous work, “The Church and the Culture War: Secular Anarchy or Sacred Order,” writes:
Christ is the truth—Mary is the trust. The liberating and healing power of Mary’s “fiat” to the Truth Who is her son and the Son of God is the remedy for the schemes of Satan, the mistrust of Eve and the failure of Adam.
“Why do women seem so unhappy today?” If they are unhappy, it may well be because they have answered poorly the questions, “What do women want?” “What do women need?” The shining and lived answer to those questions is found in Mary, Virgin and Mother. When I write next, I will consider how the example of Mary as the answer to these perennial questions can be applied to our times. Until then, let’s keep each other in prayer.
Father Robert McTeigue, S.J. is a member of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus. A professor of philosophy and theology, he has long experience in spiritual direction, retreat ministry, and religious formation. He teaches philosophy at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, FL, and is known for his classes in both Rhetoric and in Medical Ethics.