Responsibility is a crown of thorns, is it not? This is the primary intuition that comes through when I am praying the Third Sorrowful Mystery of the Crown of Thorns, a particularly spiky paradox that warns of the price of power and responsibility. Such comes at a high cost and there’s no escaping that paradox in the Christian life. So for anyone whose eyes glaze over when they see their idol and wish for that level of influence – the shadow side of what happens when power is misused, and the miracles of God that can transpire if wielded correctly – are lessons that the apt pupil of responsibility must receive before seeking such a path.
One sphere of influence that has never bothered me as much as other women, is that of the unmistakable influence of Eve over Adam in the beginning. That terrible mutt of an idea that it’s pejorative towards women has run off into the wilderness, and isn’t at all what I perceive this foundational idea of the power of women to be. Rather, one’s feminine influence, used for good or for ill is starkly shown to be essential for the salvation or detriment of her Adam. Someone nearest and dearest likes to point out how Eve with her apple didn’t even have to use words to Adam to get him to take a bite – all she had to do was extend her hand. This is immense power that women contain within themselves and must learn to wield wisely throughout the entirety of their lives.
There most certainly is such a thing as toxic femininity that twins with toxic masculinity but operates in an entirely separate way and has a mind of its own. This is not the time for those horror stories in my life but what is important to mention now is that one must not spend so much time searching for shadows and weaknesses in others that one neglects to turn the mirror on themselves and see their own shadow, their own mistakes and wasted potential. That only leads to neglect of one’s soul, and blindness to one’s own sin. No one likes to bloody look but one must pray for the courage to see if they truly desire to taste heaven. Because I keep saying the Holy Spirit likes to dwell in pure places, and that place can be you if you do the work of purification. This is one of the #1 reasons why I love Catholicism because when practiced well and with a whole heart it’s an unfailing cure for the soul and all of its ailments. It’s not easy at all – it’s hardcore – like the Navy SEALs of religions when done for real. But everyone can be that warrior, that’s the amazing thing.
So who else shows us best how to be that pure place but Mary? How else to know how to inhabit the Holy Spirit within your very body and soul and life unless you ask the woman who we call the Bride of the Holy Spirit? Brides know their beloveds best.
One awakening that Mary has put in my heart is a certain street savvy that has been hard-earned, in that I mind very dearly who I am alone with as a woman. God is always safe, but humans are not and my gift of mercy runs so deep that I feel for the most tortured souls, and sometimes that torture can turn back on you if you are not careful.
“Listen, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as clever as snakes and as innocent as doves.” – Mt 10:16
It is keeping both ideas in mind that remaining under the Mantle of Mary will protect you but that we also live in a fallen world full of traps for girls and must remain alert. Our human strength can only take us so far and that is why one seeks the Holy Spirit to inhabit one’s being, so we can experience the beauty of endless eternity when we reach our own limits. Is it really so radical to imagine practicing attention to these details and being alone with only your husband or your family and girlfriends? Is that not enough to satiate a heart? I do not enjoy courting disaster but I do enjoy the feeling of being shrewd in my choices.
Which leads me to: women, insist on Godly husbands. Because you will become essential to the health and nourishment of their soul and co-conspirator against darkness with him, he must be a man who seeks God. Not only on Sundays but in the whole of his life, to the point where it’s as if God runs in his veins. This is the kind of mate to seek. Your own pursuit of holiness will become heaven incarnate for him, and be a living experience of Mary as the New Eve. Turning the tide on womanhood to reveal the possibility of God in its definition and experience, one can turn the tide on men, and thus the world.
If that isn’t a towering level of power and responsibility, I don’t know what is. What I do know is that living as a true daughter of Mary is a guaranteed way to experience the most authentic expression of femininity and divinity in everyday life. Such a thing can seem so unreal, but becomes more real than you could know once you say “yes.”
So choose the good and drive Mary’s Fiat in the ride of your life! It’s a joyride alright.