Daughters of Mary, Daughters of Eve
Our Lord spoke of the two Great Commandments of the Law, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Mt.22:37-40).
These two Commandments are made more specific for us in the Ten Commandments. And Jesus Christ has given us the example by living a life in perfect accord with the Father’s will. During His discourse on the Holy Eucharist He told His hearers:
“All that the Father gives to me shall come to me and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. Now this is the will of him who sent me, the Father, that I should lose nothing of what he has given me, but that I should raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father who sent me, that whoever beholds the Son, and believes in him, shall have everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn.6:37-40).
After Jesus Himself, our best example of perfect obedience was His Holy Mother, Mary, whose words to the Archangel Gabriel confirmed her willingness to cooperate with God’s plan:
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word” (Lk.1:38).
But where has obedience gone? Are children taught the value of obedience anymore? Is obeying just something you have to endure until you are free to do whatever you want?
When God created the world it was to reflect His perfections, just as the Son is “the brightness of his glory and the image of his substance” (Heb.1:3). St. Paul comments, “For to which of the angels has he ever said, ‘Thou art my son, I this day have begotten thee’?” (Heb.1:5). Again, in Colossians: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Col.1:15).
To fulfill God’s plan, and to reflect His divine perfections, men were to be obedient to their parents, their superiors and employers, and to the laws of God and the laws of the land. This was not to be the obedience of slaves, a servitude that diminished one’s being, but an obedience of love. In this way women were to be obedient to their husbands. Children were to be obedient to their parents because they loved them and wished to please them. They were to be taught obedience as a virtue, and not as a burden. St. Paul affirms:
“You must remain firmly founded in the faith and steadfast and not withdrawing from the hope of the gospel which you have heard” (Col.1:23).
Mary was perfect in obedience to her parents, and to St. Joseph, her husband, but she was not the sweet, helpless, and colorless female we sometimes see in Hollywood movies. At the wedding feast at Cana, Jesus called His Mother “Woman”, which recalls the Woman spoken of in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Genesis presents her as the Woman, full of grace, wisdom and strength, who is to crush the head of the serpent (the devil). And she would appear again as the Woman in the last book of the Bible, the Apocalypse, as the Woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars (Apoc.12:1). Mary was far above the sin of this world.
In sharp contrast to Mary stands the other woman, Eve, self-willed, easily deceived, and disobedient. And who would have thought that Eve would appear again in these times, represented by her daughters, self-willed, heedless of consequences, and ready for another taste of the forbidden fruit?
Everyone has a responsibility to others to behave and to dress modestly, and this applies to men as well as to women. Immodesty in dress is a grave sin because it exposes others to temptation. But today this applies especially to women, because the “daughters of Eve” are breaking all the rules of modesty in the way they dress. Men hardly dare to look to the right or to the left, but these women couldn’t care less. They think nothing of the bad example they give, and that they are the source of scandal, the sin of causing others to sin. We have not seen the end of this. Feminism within the Church will be a force to be reckoned with in the days to come.
Thinking of Eve and her husband, Adam, we must remember that there was another player in their story. They were deceived by the serpent, the devil, of which Jesus said, “When he tells a lie he speaks from his very nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn.8:44b). We can be sure that the devil is very much around in these days, and that he is still a liar, and “the father of lies”. It is not surprising that many innocent young people fall for his deceptions. And he has many agents, writing books, making movies, designing fashions, creating TV programs. Yes, and teaching in our schools and universities, and even in our religious institutions.
Women of faith must not allow themselves to be deceived. True women, and real men, are those who follow the example of their Mother, Mary. The Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen), one of the great prayers of the Church, is recited after Low Mass. We could not go wrong in praying it now in behalf of all the young people who have lost their way and need to find again the path of obedience that leads to eternal life:
TCK Presents: Handmaids of God