There are certain gifts women have, and we have some great examples in the New Testament.
Growing up I often thought about what it meant that I was a girl. Specifically, I noticed how I fit in with other girls — or how I didn’t fit in. Do all girls do that and I don’t? Does that make me less of a girl? Is being a girl that great after all?
As I’ve matured, I’ve become more comfortable embracing who I am as a particular woman. Sure, I’m not gifted in the ways those women are, but I’m gifted in this way. And I’ve grown to love the fact that I’m a woman. Reading booklets like St. John Paul II’s Letter to Women and Alice von Hildebrand’s The Privilege of Being a Woman has helped open my eyes to what womanhood looks like, how beautiful it is, and how all women fit into that in certain ways. Women play a unique role in life that men can’t (and similarly, men have special gifts to contribute that are different from women’s).
A great place to look at the beauty of womanhood in action is to open up the New Testament. A woman carried Christ for nine months in her womb. Women stayed with Him at the cross and went out of their way to comfort Him and weep for Him on the way. Women were the first to know He was risen.
Below, I’ve compiled a few ways women tend to love and serve God and others, followed by examples from women in the New Testament. I’m sure you can find more ways and examples than I have, but here’s a start …
1We raise and form others.
Motherhood is a special capacity we have, and includes much more than biological motherhood. Being a mother is a commitment to the nurture and sacrificial care of another person. Elizabeth and Mary carried their babies in their wombs and helped form Jesus and John. Mary also provided love and support for the apostles and for John after Jesus’ death. There were other women who provided for the apostles needs, one of whom is named in the Gospels as Joanna.
The poor widow didn’t give out of her excess. Instead she gave out of her livelihood. Mary spent three months with Elizabeth to help her, while she herself was pregnant.
3We are attuned to people’s needs.
Martha and Mary both saw what was needed. Martha saw the physical needs to be met, while Mary was more attuned to what she needed spiritually — time with Jesus. Peter’s mother-in-law got up immediately after she was healed to cook dinner for her hungry guests. Mary, Jesus’ mom, noticed the wine was running out at the Wedding Feast at Cana and alerted Him to it. Veronica braved the crowds and the guards to wipe Jesus’ face during His Passion.
4We weep for others.
We have an ability to love people by easily empathizing with them. The women of Jerusalem mourned for and with Jesus. Mary and Martha grieved Lazarus’ death.
5We have powerful faith.
Remember the Canaanite woman who told Jesus that “even the dogs get the scraps” and Jesus told her she had great faith and healed her daughter? Then there was the woman who was hemorrhaging and thought that if she just touched Jesus’ cloak she would be healed. And remember the woman at the well? She ran and told everyone that she thought she had met the Messiah after talking to Jesus at the well.
6We prioritize beauty.
There was a woman who came and anointed Jesus’ feet with costly oil. The apostles complained that it was a waste, and that it was too expensive. But Jesus acknowledges her for it and notes that her action will always be remembered.
Some women may excel at all of these ways of loving others. Some may be gifted in just one particular way. But whatever gift you’ve been given, thank God for it today. And then reflect: How can I use this gift of who I am as a woman to love others better?