At its conclusion in 1965, the Second Vatican II addressed this message to women: "Acknowledged in its fullness, this is the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing a deep transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling."
How prophetic has been this clarion call to women. This reminder that to them is given the call to help humanity recover from its malaise leading to a new falling. Again woman has been asked for a fiat.
Sadly, the loudest noise that is mostly heard from the feminine both inside and outside the Church is the voice of dissent and disobedience. And "No".
John Paul II
The late Blessed Pope John Paul II exhorted and believed in a woman's genius. "Feminine genius", he called it. He believed that woman was created to be the glue which held humanity together. He believed that woman ( issah) was not lesser because she was "taken out of man" ( issh) but more refined and sacred because she emerged from within man rather than from the "soil".
John Paul II always believed and taught that the true strength, the mystery of the woman, is best seen when she sees herself as part of a complementarity with the man and recognises her own self as "different" but "equal" to the man: the softer Imago Dei which loves so deeply and endures so long that it becomes transformative.
The culture of death (an expression coined by John Paul II), which has flourished over the past 50 years, has done so because "woman" was first seduced with words which sounded like liberation from former past burdens. Then she slowly forgot her uniqueness, worth and design - helpmate, woman, mother of living - leading to loss of her understanding of her being. These voices of distraction, with stealth, have burrowed deeply into the thought and psyche of the feminine genius thus changing her blueprint for life into one that again says "no" to life and in doing so reintroduced "death."
Blessed John Paul II, in relation to the "culture of death", saw clearly that the health of the feminine and the health of society are a mirror image of one another. He wrote and spoke to and with women and most specifically and beautifully in his Letter to Women (1995) and On the Dignity and Vocation of Women. He reflected on the strength and importance of woman and her role. Not as an after-thought of God, but as the final most creative and mysterious act. He spoke to and with women and addressed the challenges which faced them. He warned prophetically of the assault against their "feminine" being by their very own "sisters" with ideologies destructive to their design.
Woman's genius is tied to the male "role" which is to enhance, refine and make whole his own role of continuing the generative act with her, because without her he again resorts to the company of beasts (Gn:2:20-24) not of his "kind", who are unable to share and generate life with him. The beast cannot be his "helpmate" but only one "like" him can fulfil this role. With her he is tied to the mystery called "life." They together understand the God who created them male and female and who designed woman to be the one who could unite herself to him and be in communion with him. To complete him. Very unlike the beast.
Understanding the fecundity of woman correctly is important because, even beasts and nature are designed to reproduce and continue "life" but woman is different. She "hears" and understands that within that new creation she carries begins a new tree, a new life, a new history, the same as the one begun when love overflowed from God and began the eternal generation of "Adam".
While woman in turn would also be recipient of something special from man (his generative gift) in his role as "man," it is she who must return time and again to unite with him in order that the "rib" (Gen. 2:22) forms again the "whole man." Not "rib" less man, but when the "rib" (woman) is reunited with the "man" the man is whole. The man of the first creation, without the "rib" (woman) is helpless and alone.
However, while woman needs to return to Adam so as to re-create, it was always in her design that she would be the one to carry forward that creation. Her receptive nature implies this. So does the curse after the sin (Gen. 3:16). So always woman was to be the one who would cooperate with Adam and God so that eternal and physical generation of a new creature would happen.
It is of little wonder that the "serpent" chose "woman" to tempt (Gen. 3:5) because it is she who is his enemy and he knew it. And it is "She" who must crush his head and bring him to heel to honour her God, her feminine and her child. The very aspect of her which cooperates with God and man to bring forth a new child, the serpent set out to corrupt. Hence he again had to convince woman to abort her child and she again is listening to his voice.
The elements of the earth are used to form "man" while "woman " is drawn out more refined because God had already "breathed" into Adam when He removed the "rib." He is the heaviness of earth, she is the mystery of "life" and together they form the new creation heading through time and with the New "Adam", Jesus, towards eternity to fill the paradise left bereft by the fall of some of the angels. How ingenious of God.
Anne Lastman B.A. (Psy/ Rel Stds), Dip. Ed., MRed., MA (theol. Stds), Memb Aust Couns Assoc. Member Fed. Victoria Counsellors. Founder of Victims of Abortion Trauma Counselling and Info Services, PO Box 6094 Vermont South, 3133. Victoria, Australia +61-408175033.