This morning, Rachel Leininger spoke at our women’s session about how our identity as a women is revealed by God.
She began with reminding us that we are tempted to find our identity in other places and things that give us our worth, whether that be our place on a sports team, the role that we play in our family, our spot in a group with friends, or our grades in school. But every time, those things that we let define us are going to fall short of telling the whole story of who we are. The world is really good at reducing our identity.
Who are we really?
If we want to know who we really are, we need to begin at the beginning. The beginning for us is Genesis 2, which focuses on how God created people. The purpose of these stories is to show us God’s original intention for humanity. In Genesis 2:7, 2:18, 2:23 – we see that God is making human beings in his image and likeness. He makes a “community” out of ONE, forming woman from man’s rib. Adam and Eve – while they are equal in humanity – are different in expression. Our world doesn’t like to admit that men and women are different. But it costs a lot to be born a woman (physically and monetarily) in our broken world. Rachel reminded us that just because the world makes it harder to be a woman doesn’t mean it’s better to be a man.
What makes us special?
Our culture does a really good job of idolizing and demeaning the human body. As women, we are hyper focused on our fashion, fitness and looks. We don’t eat right or sleep enough. We dress to show off our bodies, highlighting body parts instead of the person. We abuse our bodies with drugs, fitness, and eating disorders. But we have to remember that our bodies are not just a shell for our souls. Our bodies are an outward sign that reveal our human nature. Being a woman, your double X chromosomes determines everything. That extra X chromosome gives us a bilateral brain, and men a lateral brain. Because of this, woman are better at multitasking and organizing. It’s a big deal to be created a female!
Unfortunately, there are men and women in this world that do not identity with the sex of their body. Those that experience gender dysphoria (the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity to be the opposite of one’s biological sex) are not a mistake, because as a Church, we know that God does not make mistakes. God does not put a person in the wrong body because he chooses our body in order to help us become a saint!
Do women = men?
Our society’s skewed sense of equality says that in order for women to advance in this world, we need to become more like men. But as women, we have an innate desire to nurture and care for other people that men don’t. We, as women, are able to do many things that men will never be able to do. Men are good and women are good. We are both made in the image and likeness of God. The difference in our embodiments shows us concretely that we need each other. Both men and women are lacking something on their own and we do not see the full image of God until men and women come together. We can tell the world these truths simply by who we are as women.
Rachel sent us off by giving us some female Saints to pray to as an example. St. Theresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Hildegard, St. Gianna Molla, St. Theresa of Calcutta, St. Joan of Arc, and of course, our Mother Mary. These holy women had everything they needed to change the world, and so can you. Your feminine genius can bring change to history. Our feminine hearts, bodies and souls were made on purpose and for a purpose. We can face all the challenges the world throws at us just the way we are.
“If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the whole world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!” – Sojourner Truth
“The level of any civilization is always the level of its womanhood. When woman succeed, the world succeeds.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“It is only through the duality of the masculine and the feminine that the human finds full realization.” – Saint John Paul II