Woman’s Gift of Receptivity ~ Alice von Hildebrand / The Winner of the FF Giveaway is….


by Alice von Hildebrand, The Privilege of Being a Woman

Another great gift that God has granted the female nature is the gift of receptivity. This is not to be confused with passivity as Aristotle does when he claims that the male is superior to the female because he is “active,” whereas she is passive.

Clearly passivity is inferior to activity, for one is only being “acted upon.” But this is not true of receptivity which involves an alert, awakened, joyful readiness to be fecundated by another person or by a beautiful object.

All created persons are essentially receptive because “there is nothing that we have not received.”

Women feel at home in this receptivity and move in it with ease and grace. This is already inscribed in their biological nature: a wife giving herself to her husband accepts joyfully to be fecundated, to receive. Her receptivity is a self-giving.

But the marvel of childbirth is that even though she has only received a living seed — so microscopic that it is invisible to the human eye — after nine months she gives her spouse a human being, with an immortal soul made to God’s image and likeness.

The moment of conception takes place hours after the marital embrace, but when the sperm fecundates the female egg we can assume (even though it has never formally been taught by the Church) that at that very moment God creates the child’s soul — a totally new soul which, being immaterial, cannot be produced by human beings. God therefore “touches” the female body in placing this new soul into the temple of her womb.

This is another incredible privilege that the Creator grants to women. During pregnancy, she has the extraordinary privilege of carrying two souls in her body. If those unfortunate women who consider having an abortion were conscious of this, it is most unlikely that any of them would consent to the crime.

It is worth mentioning that while it is the husband who fecundates his wife, one says “she has given herself to him,” implying that this receptivity is also a unique donation: To accept to receive is a very special gift.

There are some unfortunate persons who would prefer to die than to receive, for the very thought of being indebted is repulsive to them.

Kierkegaard writes about the demonic despair in which a man prefers the torments of hell to accepting help, “the humiliation of becoming nothing in the hands of the helper for whom all things are possible …”

To accept her state of creaturehood is easier for a woman than for a man, who is always tempted to be in command. How many men revolt at their metaphysical dependence; how many men resent being sick and weak and therefore forced to rely on the help of others?

Authentic creativity in creatures depends upon their degree of receptivity; to use Platonic language, he who produces without having opened himself to fecundation by God will produce “bastards.”

Much of what is called “modern art” falls into this category, because the temptation of many artists today is no longer to serve, but to “express” themselves.

In this context, Gertrud von le Fort writes: “The artist who no longer gives God the honor, and instead proclaims only himself, must, by excluding the religious element from culture, practically eliminate also its womanly quality.”

In childbirth, this creative miracle that stems from womanly receptivity is, as we saw, exemplified in a unique way. It finds its climax in the words of the Blessed Virgin who only said “yes” to God’s offer; she did not “do” anything, she simply said: “be it done to me according to Thy word.”

As soon as she uttered these holy words, she conceived the Savior of the world in the mystery of her blessed womb. She carried in the temple of her female organs the King of the Universe Whom the whole universe cannot contain.

Important as the role of the father is, women collaborate in a very special way with God’s creation of new human beings who are called upon to serve Him in this life and enjoy Him forever in heaven.

Receptivity is a religious category par excellence. The key to holiness is to let oneself be totally “reformed” by divine grace, to say to God, “do with me whatever you will.”

Mary said to the servants at the wedding in Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.” That is the way to holiness. Because this characteristic is so crucial in religious life, it explains why the liturgy calls women “the pious sex.”

As long as women are faithful to their “religious” calling the world is safe. But the threat menacing us today is precisely the metaphysical revolt of feminists who have totally lost sight of their vocation because they have become blind to the supernatural.

At the turn of the century, the French academy offered a prize to the person who best answered the following question: “Why are there more men than women in jails?” The award was given to the person who wrote, “because there are more women than men in churches.”

One dreads to think of the possibility that “the pious sex” would let itself be convinced that prayer is only for the weak and the incompetent, meaningless for those aiming at greatness.

Here is a truth worth meditating upon: Women are more geared to piety because they have a keener awareness of their weakness. This is their true strength.

As the educator and trainer of the immature minds and wills entrusted to you by God, your vocation is difficult. It calls for many qualities that are virtues in themselves: zeal, painstaking effort, patience in weariness, and the humility that joyfully stoops to the level of the child. It is hard work, and the temptation must come at times to abandon the effort and take life easy. Only the seriousness of the undertaking and the knowledge that it is done for God can sustain the untiring effort demanded. – Father Lawrence Lovasik


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This is a unique book of Catholic devotions for young children. There is nothing routine and formal about these stories. They are interesting, full of warmth and dipped right out of life. These anecdotes will help children know about God, as each one unfolds a truth about the saints, the Church, the virtues, etc. These are short faith-filled stories, with a few questions and a prayer following each one, enabling the moral of each story to sink into the minds of your little ones. The stories are only a page long so tired mothers, who still want to give that “tucking in” time a special touch, or pause a brief moment during their busy day to gather her children around her, can feel good about bringing the realities of our faith to the minds of her children in a childlike, (though not childish), way. There is a small poem and a picture at the end of each story. Your children will be straining their necks to see the sweet pictures! Through these small stories, parents will sow seeds of our Holy Catholic Faith that will enrich their families all the years to come!

This revised 1922 classic offers gentle guidance for preteen and teenage girls on how to become a godly woman. Full of charm and sentiment, it will help mother and daughter establish a comfortable rapport for discussions about building character, friendships, obedience, high ideals, a cheerful spirit, modest dress, a pure heart, and a consecrated life.

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