In one sense, feminists are right – of course it is true that women deserve the same natural rights as men. But there is a lack of humility in feminism that often leads to ugly pride. I found this excerpt from an essay entitled In Praise of Weakness that we all should keep in mind more often:
FEMINISTS are known to become enraged when women are dubbed “the weaker sex.” Given that the holy liturgy, while referring to Eve’s daughters, uses this epithet, it is a topic worthy of discussion. The word “weak,” like many in our vocabulary, has several meanings. It can refer to what is delicate, fragile, and in need of protection. Precious porcelain is more fragile than plates bought at the five and dime. A baby is “weaker” than a dog. “Weak” can also mean morally vulnerable, more likely to yield to pressure and temptation, less courageous. Hamlet’s words, “Frailty, thy name is woman,” have been quoted innumerable times, and will continue to be applied to what is also called “the fair sex.”
. . .
In truth, an intelligent woman would not be offended at being called “weak,” because it is an accurate description. We might each have different weaknesses, but every one of us, with the exception of the blessed one among women, is not only weak but very weak, whether we are willing to acknowledge it or not. Foolish is he who believes he is “strong.” History is rife with stories of men whose downfall was triggered by their self-assurance. Indeed, the first step toward cowardice is to believe oneself invincible and strong. This is the bitter lesson that the lovable St. Peter had to learn. When he declared that he would die for Christ, he was absolutely sincere. Alas, he counted on his own strength and, three hours later, intimidated by the chatter of a maid, denied three times the One he loved. His bitter tears purified his loving but weak heart, and gave him the strength, years later, to joyfully accept crucifixion and death.
But feminists will tell us: “What we resent is that we are told that we are ‘weaker’ than men.” The older one gets, the more one realizes that there is only one thing that should concern us: Have we pleased God? What other people say is, much of the time, a mere flatus vocis, to which we should pay no attention. We should laugh gently at our friends’ kind intentions when they commend our accomplishments; we should not take their compliments too seriously. Theyjust mean to give expression to their kindness. Others, on the contrary, make a point of hurling offenses at us every time they have a chance to do so. If there is but a bit of truth in their criticism, we should, like the noble pagan Socrates, be grateful. Said he: “If you prove me to be wrong, you will be the greatest of my benefactors.” Similarly, if we are rightly accused of stupidity or some other flaw, we should be grateful to him who opened our eyes to our faults. If the criticism is unjust, unfair, or plainly false, we should transform these “offenses” into a prayer for the offender who, by his unkindness, is sinning against God and harming his own soul. Life teaches us that many people’s nastiness is just an exterior manifestation of their unhappiness. Most of them are at war with themselves, and experience a small bit of relief by hurting others. They require our loving compassion.
The long and painful experience of maturing teaches one to pay little attention to what people say about oneself, and to be more and more concerned about God’s judgment. This enables one to enjoy a dimension of Christian freedom. We should not become dejected by empty chatter.
The overwhelming beauty of Christianity is the story of God, Creator of Heaven and earth, infinitely powerful, infinitely holy, who freely chose to assume the form of a slave, to become man – similar to all of us except in sin – to be born in a stable, in complete poverty. He chose to make Himself vulnerable, to let Himself be unjustly arrested as a criminal, to be condemned to death, to be scourged, to carry a cross, and to be crucified. He who could have called down a legion of angels to protect Himself was delivered into the hands of sinners and chose to be weak. Yet, He was, is, and will be King forever. That Christ chose to become a babe should inspire in us awe for weakness which, when chosen or humbly acknowledged, is a sign of authentic greatness.
This is the teaching of the great St. Paul. His brilliant talents and his remarkable intellectual formation did not prevent him from being “blind” to the radiant truth of the Good News. His moral blindness was cured by a temporary physical blindness that forced him to his knees, and led him to beg for light and for help. Miraculously converted, the wolf became a lamb exposed to al I the sufferings and persecutions of those who are unprotected. Granted exceptional graces, “whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know” (2 Cor. 1 2:2), St. Paul refused to glorify himself for all the amazing graces he had received. But he did glorify himself for his weakness: “I will not boast except in my weaknesses” (2 Cor. 2:5). “For it is when I am weak that I am strong.”
. . .
What the Gospel teaches us is that humility is the key to sanctity. “Without Him, we can do nothing,” but with His grace we can move mountains.