“I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to Thy will.” - Luke 1:38
As I look at this image, those beautiful words spoken by our lady during one of the most pivotal moments in history, come to mind. I am struck by the softness of the expression of Our Lady and her demeanor. She has such reverence for the “fiat” she just proclaimed. Her head bowed before the Lord of the universe who made Himself present in her womb. As one of my favorite images, I am not only struck by the softness of the brushstrokes, but the image itself. Our Lady's expression is one of humble joy. She is humbled by the presence of the Lord within her and that is expressed through her posture. The artist captured her femininity beautifully.
What does femininity mean for the individual person? That could mean different things for different people. Since Our Lady is the pinnacle of femininity, being born without the stain of sin, she is a perfect example of what we should try to attain as women of God. How we interpret this is completely individual though, and that’s what sets us apart as women and makes us unique.
One of the beautiful feminine traits that I admire about Our Lady, and am also working on myself, is her ability to discern how she would react to situations. Mary possessed the wisdom to know when to speak up, but also when to stay silent. She had the prudence to know that she had to be a silent witness as our humanity and sin killed her son, but when she needed to speak up, as she did at the Wedding feast of Cana, she did with boldness. Our world today tells us to forgo prudence in situations that we should practice temperance. Especially as women, our voices were silent for so long, so when we finally got the chance to speak, we’re prompted to speak loudly or with aggression because for thousands of years we were ignored or left out of important conversations.
There is nothing wrong with speaking out, especially when we are passionate about something, but there is grace in practicing prudence. For example, if my husband and I get into a petty argument (usually my fault to be honest), and I know my words are only going to create further division, I have the choice to either dig a deeper trench between us, or build that bridge. Prudence is a virtue that I know I need to work on daily, but if it brings me closer to the side of Jesus, then I will continue to do so.
Being feminine means being ourselves. It means being who God created us to be. We as women are so beautiful. We are all so uniquely different and each of us reflect the body of Christ so well. I am in awe as I delve more into femininity and how truly beautiful it is. We are created for love and life. We are co-creators with God. Not only is our female form made in the image and likeness of God, but our souls are meant to reflect Him in a way that men cannot.
We, when we are the truest versions of ourselves, are meant to reflect the softness, gentleness, graciousness, and beauty of God. We can step into any place and make it beautiful, make it home. We nourish others through our bodies, through our hands. We are called to create, not only human life, but a culture around us that reflects the Glory of God. We are strong, courageous, and lovely. Our emotions connect us with each other and help us grow. Our Lady helps us mold those qualities that we are given and we are able to point back to Christ each time we are recognized and even when we are not.
Being the pinnacle of femininity, Our Lady paves the way for us. She sets the perfect example of what true womanhood should look like. It’s up to us, with our individual talents and strengths, to use our individuality to point others to heaven.
The image used for this reflection is "Our Lady of the Millenium" and can be found at this link: https://www.churchsupplywarehouse.com/4332-our-lady-of-the-millennium-with-marian-prayer.html
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