Monday, October 5, 2009

Do Not Neglect the Gift that is in You

For my Modern Spanish Novels class, I am currently reading and writing summaries of five articles evaluating the life and writing of Carmen de Burgos, a Spanish writer who lived from 1867-1932. She is known for her feminism and her work for women's rights. As I read these articles, I read about various individuals' commitments to feminism and all the rights that women supposedly need to have. Yes, we need to have the same rights as men. But we all need to have our rights based on three ideas:
1) My rights end where yours begin; if doing what I want to do hurts you, then I can't do it.
2) All of our rights come from God. We were made for him and by him.
3) We live not for ourselves but for the Lord.

But on to feminism, I know that women needed rights in the early 20th century. I know that things were very different. But I think that now (in 2009) feminism has gone too far. I am criticized by people I know for my desire to "just" (as one friend put it) be a teacher or my desire to be a stay-at-home mom someday. As a 21st century, I should want more. I should do more. I can be more than "just" a teacher and a mother.
Feminism has liberated me from the proverbial kitchen; it just didn't realize that I wanted to be in the kitchen.
I see being a teacher and a wife and a mother as more than simple jobs or roles in the society. I see them as callings from God, vocations. And I see them as vastly important vocations that are absolutely necessary for the survival of our faith.
Motherhood...what higher calling is there for a woman? What woman has been more exalted by God than his own mother? In my humble opinion, Mary is our model, our rule. And as she said "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord! May it be done unto me according to your word." (Lk 1:38) and "Whatever He says to you, do it." (Jn. 2: 5)
That is our rule. As women, we are called to submit to the Lord's will. And for me, that means following in the footsteps of a woman who was called "blessed among women" (Lk 1:42).

And teaching? That one (to my way of thinking) is Scriptural. We are called to teach and to educate in the Word of God. But this verse has always struck me: "Let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." (James 3:1) I know it refers to spiritual teaching. But in today's world, I think that going out as a teacher means that I will be teaching my subject matter but also teaching with my way of life.
As Paul told Timothy, "Do not neglect the gift that is in you..." (I Tim.4:14).

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