Lent with St Edith Stein: Woman's Natural Vocation

Lent with St Edith Stein: Woman's Natural Vocation

Lent with St Edith Stein Day One: Woman’s Natural Vocation

A Prayer of St Edith Stein:

               O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You.  Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me.  I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me and I shall met with peace.

 “Only the person blinded by the passion of controversy could deny that woman in soul and body is formed for a particular purpose….woman is destined to be wife and mother. Both physically and spiritually she is endowed for this purpose, as is seen clearly from practical experience.”

St Edith Stein, The Ethos of Women’s Professions

                As we begin, it is so important for us to remember that every human soul is unique and has been designed with a unique purpose. God did not create “extras” who merely walk in the background of His design. While not everyone embraces His purpose for their lives, God has created each of us with intention. We are each unique and while we share common features, they manifest themselves in different ways for each individual.

              While God created each of us with a unique purpose, he created human beings with a common human nature. We also have a common purpose, to live in union with Him. We can see through our own observations (as well as significant clinical research) that men and women were created differently. So we must assume that those differences were created with intention as well.

               Women have a natural inclination toward empathy, which is much stronger than men’s. We have a natural interest in the lives and well-being of those around us. When we look at a situation, our first instinct is to consider the human impact and the feelings and welfare of those involved. Our nature is so centered on the person, the individual, that when we consider “things,” we see them in relation to how they will serve people.

               Women are also drawn to personal development. This is obvious in the amount of personal development books and programs that are aimed at us! We want to transcend our current state and be transformed into something better. Women have a constant drive to meet our full potential. In turn, we want to help others do so as well.

               These gifts that God has given us lead us to our natural vocation: as wives and mothers. Of course, not everyone is married and not everyone has children. However, marriage and motherhood make the most of these gifts. Our desire to love and cherish others and help them reach their potential can reach its highest and best use in family life, but it isn’t limited to that. We can bring these gifts with us to any state of life.

               Unfortunately, we can suppress our natural feminine nature. This can be the result of abuse or other difficult situations where showing empathy and care caused us pain or is seen as a sign of weakness. In the workplace, we may also feel that in order to advance in our careers we have to be “like a man.” Over the next few sessions, we’ll talk more about how to embrace and develop our natural spiritual gifts, rather than fighting against them as we sometimes feel we should.

Reflection question for the day: How do I try to suppress my natural empathy?

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