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Ode to Feminine Genius: The Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman Introduction

This is the first installment in the series of Ode to Feminine Genius: Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman.

Today will cover the series introduction.

Teaser

Achieving perfection that is pleasing to God by imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary is the goal of this new series entitled Ode to Feminine Genius: The Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman.  In our quest for doing God’s will, intentional homemaking, and becoming a woman of inner beauty by focusing our study in this series of Proverbs 31: 10-31, which tells us:

“Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils.  She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.  She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands.  She is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar.  And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens. She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard.  She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night.  She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle.  She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering. Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land.  She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Canaanite.  Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. The Canaanite: The merchant, for Canaanite, in Hebrew, signifies a merchant. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Since this chapter of the Bible is jammed with so much goodness, we have pulled nine (9) categories to write about.  These will be presented in any order and by various contributors coming from different walks of life.  It is our hope to make this a perpetual series within the website and that it will bring you closer to God and help you discipline the self so that we can help one another in living the Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman life.  Here are the topics:

1. A Frugal Woman: A Valiant Woman spends money wisely, in consultation with her husband, regarding the needs of their family, making wise purchases that demonstrate prudence and ultimate trust that God will always provide. Proverbs 31: 13-14, “She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I spend our family money wisely?  Do I consult with my husband for large purchases? Am I being prudent with our money?  Do I trust that God will always provide?

2. A Strong Woman: A Valiant Woman cares for herself in body and soul. She is concerned about keeping a strong prayer life, eating right, and getting enough rest, to set a healthy example of strong balance for her family.  Proverbs 31: 16-17, “She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I care for my body by exercising and staying in shape?  Do I worry about the state of my soul? Do I keep a strong prayers life?  Do I eat well?  Do I get enough rest every day?  Am I setting an example of strong balance for my family?

3. A Diligent Woman: A Valiant Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. She looks for ways to be organized and finds solutions to homekeeping. Proverbs 31: 19, “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I spend my time wisely?  Do I work diligently to complete my daily tasks?  Do I spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord?  Do I look for ways to be more organized?  Do I find solutions to homekeeping?

4. A Merciful Woman: A Valiant Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She practices the works of mercy and influences her will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. Proverbs 31: 20, “She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I serve my husband and family?  Do I serve my friends and neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit? Do I practice the works of mercy and influence my will to have compassion for and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune?

5. A Hospitable Woman: A Valiant Woman creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests by being a good homemaker She uses hospitality to show Christ to those around her. She is friendly and courteous to those who visit and makes them feel welcomed. Proverbs 31: 21, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I create an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for my family and guests?  Am I a good homemaker?  Do I use hospitality to show Christ to those around me? Am I friendly and courteous to those who visit? Do I make them feel welcomed?

6. An Industrious Woman: A Valiant Woman works willingly with her hands. She keeps her home as her first and foremost focus. She looks well to the ways of her household and embraces the life God has blessed her with. She is diligent and self-disciplined in all she does. Proverbs 31: 27, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” 

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I work willingly with my hands? Do I keep my home as my first and foremost focus? Do I organize my housework and keep up with it?  Do I embrace the life God has blessed me with?  Am I diligent in my housework? Am I self-disciplined in all I do?

7. A Family Woman: A Valiant Woman respects her husband and does good by him always. She loves and respects him as the head of the home. She teaches her children the ways of God and nurtures them with love, and disciplines them with care and wisdom. She trains them in the Roman Catholic Faith.  Proverbs 31: 28, “Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I respect my husband?  Do I do good by him always? Do I love and respect my husband as the head of our home?  Do I teach my children the ways of God?  Do I nurture my children with love?  Do I discipline my children with care and wisdom? Do I train my children in the Catholic Faith?

8. A Faithful Woman: A Valiant Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She turns to God and His Blessed Mother seeking God’s Holy Will for her life. She fears the Lord and follows His ways. She turns to the things of God always and turns away that of the world that takes her away from Him. Proverbs 31: 29-30, “Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I serve God with all of my heart, mind, and soul?  Do I turn to God and His Blessed Mother seek God’s Holy Will for my life? Do I fear the Lord and follow in His ways? Do I turn to the things of God always?  Do I turn away the things of the world that take me away from God?

9. A Beautiful Woman: A Valiant Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones.  Proverbs 31: 30, “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised!”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I keep my focus on being beautiful from within?  Do I focus on the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Am I creative? Do I try to use my sense of style to create beauty in my life?  Do I create beauty in the lives of my loved ones? Do I make my home beautiful within our means?

Is there a topic that stands out to you?  Are there some you are already working on? Do you like the questions created above?  We liked them so much that we created an Ode to Feminine Genius Examination of Conscience.  Enjoy!

Categories
Apologetics Conversion Discipleship Doctrine Domestic Church Ecumenism Erika Evangelization Faith Formation Ink Slingers Mass Prayer Sacred Scripture Spiritual Growth Vocations

Mass Confusion: Interference

Earlier today I was driving down the road listening to my local Catholic station. Every so often a popular rock station would bleed in and cover the beautiful sounds of a Mass with Fr. Mitch Pacwa. Talk about Mass confusion***! I couldn’t seem to help myself, even as I listened to him intone the words of Consecration, from singing along with the popular rock songs. As I caught myself doing so, time and time again, I was reminded that this is somewhat “normal” for me and many other Catholics, Christians, and/or any faithful throughout our faith-lives to be so easily distracted by secular things.

On a basic level, this distraction has roots in Satan. The more concentrated we become on God, the more frustrated Satan is. So, in an effort to separate us from God, Satan throws little distractions at us. Physically, my Mass confusion was caused by two local radio stations sharing the same frequency; however, spiritually, each time I sang the words to a popular rock song instead of staying focused on the Mass, Satan was winning. Of course, this makes me wonder if perhaps God also uses the physical effects of a Catholic station sharing the frequency with a popular rock station to gain followers from the crowd of rockers.

Even through my Mass confusion I began to wonder about other things that distract us from the beauty of Mass and therefore from God: liturgical abuses**. Recently, my mother and I were discussing various experiences we’ve had on vacations with local Masses. She recounted one particular Mass, where the Eucharist was basically reduced to ‘chips and dip’, from which my whole family emerged silent and disturbed.If we err by thinking we are the center of the Liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of Faith ~ Cardinal Raymond Burke We were hours from our home with three children in the car, yet none of us spoke on the way home. I remembered another experience where we spent the entire Mass trying to find anything familiar besides some of the words – the Tabernacle was nowhere to be seen, the Crucifix was MIA, rubric defined words of Consecration were changed, and the layout of the church itself was in the round. We had other experiences with fewer abuses as well. Locally, we have a diverse celebration of Mass as well, but no where near the levels experienced outside our home area. Such Mass confusion dilutes the Word of God, Jesus, to our image of Him instead of transforming us into the Image of Him.

Some seem to thrive on Mass confusion in an effort to be more tolerant, entertaining, diverse, etc. Often, those faithful to the rubrics and to both ‘t’ and ‘T’ traditions are accused of being “rubric-Nazis”, “holier-than-thou”, “intolerant”, “behind the times”, and “divisive”. Yet Scripture tells us to stay faithful to the traditions given to us by Jesus and the Apostles as well as to avoid leading others astray. God is the ultimate in constancy whereas Satan is ever changing to tempt us away from God. Yes, we are called to be welcoming and universal, but we don’t do that by abandoning 2000 years of traditions and making Mass less about God and more about ourselves. Just as I experienced Mass confusion with my radio stations blending with one another, we all experience Mass confusion when we try to bend Mass to secular understanding.

Have veneration and respect for the holy Liturgy of the church and for its ceremonies. Observe them faithfully. Don't you see that, for us poor men, even what is greatest and most noble must enter through the senses? ~ St Josemaria EscrivaThere are many questions in my mind — that I’m unsure how answer. Have any of these changes to the Mass increased vocations, faithfulness, tolerance, holiness, etc?  When we knowingly participate in a less-than-stellar Mass (according to rubrics & Tradition) do we still gain the graces given to us through Mass? By knowingly (for convenience-sake*) choosing a Mass where there is less adherence to the rubrics and Tradition, am I putting my soul at stake or am I just exposing myself to disdain (since I veil in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament) and Mass confusion? Do I mitigate whatever harm going to a confused Mass because I chose to do so based on getting my reluctant Catholic husband to Mass? Or do I add to the harm (to my soul and perhaps his) by exposing him to Mass confusion?

* Obviously, when we only have one option available for Mass, whether on vacation or due to lack of churches, we are filled with all the graces available from Mass. However, in my area, we have many available options for Mass. I live 20 miles outside of the nearest ‘big’ town, yet there are 3 Catholic churches with different pastors within 2 miles of my home. If I were to drive all the way to town I’d add at least another dozen Catholic churches to the list of available options.

** More information on common liturgical abuses:

*** As I was writing this post I was completely unaware of a book published with this same title about liturgical abuses.