Loading

Our Jewish roots: Feminism

Cheryl Dickow

When JPII wrote “Mulieris Dignitatem,” he opened with the Second Vatican Council’s closing message. 

The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at his moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.

At the time of JPII’s writing, in 1988, feminism had become quite “radical.” Women were floundering to understand who they were and in their “identity” quest, mistakenly believed that they ought to “masculinize” themselves.  What began, years before, as an attempt to right some of the wrongs inflicted upon women, the feminist movement began inflicting their own wrongs upon the female population. 

John Paul II knew it was both necessary and important to share with his flock, males and females, what God had intended when He created man and woman.  Throughout the “Mulieris Dignitatem” discourse, JPII brilliantly sheds light upon the phrase “equal but different.” 

But what does this really mean – equal but different?  And what is the harm in aspiring to being politically correct and thus seeing everyone as the same?  Our answers are found in the Matriarchs of the Jewish faith: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, the original feminists.

A number of specific adjectives are applicable to Sarah, the first Matriarch, and to whom God’s promise of an heir to Abraham clearly resides.  Sarah is referred to as beautiful and prophetic.  Whether we agree or disagree with such labels, Sarah was a physically beautiful woman. However, we also know that when Scripture identifies a woman as beautiful it is often an indicator of her interior beauty as well.  Other words that could be used to describe Sarah would have been virtuous, honest, righteous, and trustworthy. 

Along with being beautiful, Sarah was considered prophetic.  Just as Catholics have a mystical aspect of their faith, so, too, do Jews.  In this way, Sarah was said to be prophetic in that she spent a great deal of her life converting her pagan neighbors to the monotheistic faith of Judaism.  She “understood” the things of God, just as JPII speaks of in “Mulieris Dignitatem.”  JPII specifically says, “Christ speaks to women of the things of God and they understand; there is a true resonance…” 

Thus, a true feminist embraces and values her prophetic nature, that ability to “understand” the things of God. It is only in the “understanding” that she is able to work with God, that she is able to be who God has called her to be.  When radical feminism abhors a woman’s innate ability to “know the things of God,” it is asking a woman to masculinize herself and “turn off” that part of herself that God created for His own indwelling. 

Sarah is followed by Rebekah who, herself, is a mighty and formidable Matriarch, a real feminist who “understood the things of God.”  It is said that the divine presence that left Sarah’s tent upon her death, returned when Isaac married Rebekah.  The Holy Spirit was with Rebekah, just as the Holy Spirit is with each woman today. 

Rachel and Leah are the Matriarchs referred to in the blessing given to Boaz for his marriage to Ruth.  It is the union of Boaz and Ruth that gives us the lineage from which Christ will be born.  Rachel and Leah, and their two maidservants Zilpah and Bilhah, bring 12 boys into the world from which the 12 tribes of Israel will derive.  So when, generations later, in the town of Bethlehem, Boaz marries Ruth, Boaz’s elders say, “May the Lord make this wife come into your house like Rachel and Leah, who between them build up the house of Israel.  May you do well and win fame in Bethlehem.”  Credit for the building up of the house of Israel is clearly given to two women, feminist in that they fulfilled their vocations as given by God and not by man. 

Feminism, then, must be defined as a woman filling her vocation, a vocation to physical motherhood, spiritual motherhood, and/or serving the community through positions of authority, but never a vocation of selfish desires.  In this way feminism has roots that reach back thousands of years and is packed with myriad examples of women called to a wide variety of vocations with no two being alike but all serving God and following His edicts.

Topics: Church teaching , Current Events , Faith , Family

Cheryl Dickow is a Catholic wife, mother, author and speaker. She co-authored and published the best-selling All Things Girl books and co-hosted the EWTN 13 part televison series of the same name. Her company is Bezalel Books (Bezalel is Hebrew and means "in the shadow of God") where her goal is to publish great Catholic books for families and classrooms that entertain while uplifting the Catholic faith. Her website is www.BezalelBooks.com where parents, teachers and catechists are invited to browse through titles.  

View all articles by Cheryl Dickow

Ads by Google
(What's this?)

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

RECENT POSTS

OUR TOPICS

Abortion (50)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (3)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (18)  Church teaching (35)  Contraception (28)  Culture (124)  Current Events (99)  Dating (15)  Death (7)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (14)  Eucharist (4)  Exercise (3)  Faith (228)  Family (93)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (14)  Fertility (3)  Fitness (1)  Food (3)  Forgiveness (19)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (3)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (15)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (13)  Liturgical Year (11)  Marian devotion (9)  Marriage (37)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (3)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (6)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (60)  Movies (2)  Music (5)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (45)  Personal Growth (106)  Politics (4)  Pope Francis (4)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (34)  Pro-Life (29)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (9)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (11)  Religious Vocation (1)  Saints (17)  Scripture (7)  Service (8)  Sexuality (20)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (3)  Suffering (15)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  United Nations (1)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (7)  Women's Health (21)  Workplace (13)  Writings of the Saints (12)  Young Women (40) 

Nov
26

Liturgical Calendar

November 26, 2014

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 21:5-11

Gospel
Date
11/25/14
11/24/14
11/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 15: 1-4
Gospel:: Lk 21: 12-19

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/25/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 21:5-11

Homily
Date
11/25/14
11/24/14
11/21/14
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: