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When I Gave the Gift of Self - I Found Myself - HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! - Mulieris Dignitatem!

Aug 16, 2023

This week on the great feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary the profound Apostolic Letter written by St. Pope John Paul II turned 35 years old!! 

Mulieris Dignitatem is a meaningful letter on the dignity and vocation of women. This writing had a HUGE impact on my decision to start the ICW Community. Published while I was in college and during a "MarianYear" -  I didn't read it until around 2007. It was this letter which cancelled the bill of goods I was sold (and happily bought) while I was in college. As a woman wading into the motion picture industry I bought the "feminist" message hook, line and sinker!! I believed that I could single handedly (read: without a man and without God) do whatever I set my sights on. 

While it is not to be misunderstood here that I, a woman, am not capable of doing the "things" I set my sights on... this is NOT what I mean. Instead, I CANNOT do the "things" apart from God. As a married woman, I cannot be fooled into thinking my works do not affect my husband, my family, my community and the world. 

To come to know that I have been TRULY created in the image and likeness of God and that He desires me to be with Him forever in heaven is an awesome reality. 

This year my husband and I celebrated our 30th year of marriage in a unique way - it was during this trip that Craig and I discovered the profound depth of our marriage while we also came to understand our own individual depth. 

Knowing that I am a gift to my husband and that he is gift to me has transformed what it means to serve - what it means to exist FOR another. In giving the gift of myself to Craig, I found myself... I found my motherhood, my femininity, my beauty and my GOD! 

I pray that you too will be transformed into the REAL woman God created you to be! 

Mulieris Dignitatem makes good Holy Hour reading! I encourage you to take the time to be immersed in what it TRULY means to be WOMAN. 

Here are some of my favorite excerpts: 

Person-Communion- Gift

Being a person means striving towards self-realization, which can only be achieved "through a sincere gift of self". The model for this interpretation of the person is God himself as Trinity, as a communion of Persons. To say that man is created in the image and likeness of God means that man is called to exist "for" others, to become a gift.

This applies to every human being, whether woman or man, who live it out in accordance with the special qualities proper to each. Within the framework of the present meditation on the dignity and vocation of women, this truth about being human constitutes the indispensable point of departure. Already in the Book of Genesis we can discern, in preliminary outline, the spousal character of the relationship between persons, which will serve as the basis for the subsequent development of the truth about motherhood, and about virginity, as two particular dimensions of the vocation of women in the light of divine Revelation. These two dimensions will find their loftiest expression at the "fullness of time" (cf. Gal 4:4) in the "woman" of Nazareth: the Virgin-Mother.

The Beginning and The "sin"

They do not mean that the image and the likeness of God in the human being, whether woman or man, has been destroyed by sin; they mean rather that it has been "obscured"[30] and in a sense "diminished". Sin in fact "diminishes" man...

"He Shall Rule Over You" 

In our times the question of "women's rights" has taken on new significance in the broad context of the rights of the human person. The biblical and evangelical message sheds light on this cause, which is the object of much attention today, by safeguarding the truth about the "unity" of the "two", that is to say the truth about that dignity and vocation that result from the specific diversity and personal originality of man and woman. Consequently, even the rightful opposition of women to what is expressed in the biblical words "He shall rule over you" (Gen 3:16) must not under any condition lead to the "masculinization" of women. In the name of liberation from male "domination", women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own feminine "originality". There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not "reach fulfilment", but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness. It is indeed an enormous richness. In the biblical description, the words of the first man at the sight of the woman who had been created are words of admiration and enchantment, words which fill the whole history of man on earth.

The Dignity of Women and the Order of Love

In God's eternal plan, woman is the one in whom the order of love in the created world of persons takes first root.

Unless we refer to this order and primacy we cannot give a complete and adequate answer to the question about women's dignity and vocation. When we say that the woman is the one who receives love in order to love in return, this refers not only or above all to the specific spousal relationship of marriage. It means something more universal, based on the very fact of her being a woman within all the interpersonal relationships which, in the most varied ways, shape society and structure the interaction between all persons - men and women. In this broad and diversified context, a woman represents a particular value by the fact that she is a human person, and, at the same time, this particular person, by the fact of her femininity. This concerns each and every woman, independently of the cultural context in which she lives, and independently of her spiritual, psychological and physical characteristics, as for example, age, education, health, work, and whether she is married or single.

Awareness of a Mission

Thus the "perfect woman" (cf. Prov 31:10) becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These "perfect women" are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations.

In our own time, the successes of science and technology make it possible to attain material well-being to a degree hitherto unknown. While this favours some, it pushes others to the edges of society. In this way, unilateral progress can also lead to a gradual loss of sensitivity for man, that is, for what is essentially human. In this sense, our time in particular awaits the manifestation of that "genius" which belongs to women, and which can ensure sensitivity for human beings in every circumstance: because they are human! - and because "the greatest of these is love" (cf. 1 Cor 13:13).

If You Knew the Gift of God

"If you knew the gift of God" (Jn 4:10), Jesus says to the Samaritan woman during one of those remarkable conversations which show his great esteem for the dignity of women and for the vocation which enables them to share in his messianic mission.

The present reflections, now at an end, have sought to recognize, within the "gift of God", what he, as Creator and Redeemer, entrusts to women, to every woman. In the Spirit of Christ, in fact, women can discover the entire meaning of their femininity and thus be disposed to making a "sincere gift of self" to others, thereby finding themselves.


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