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My daughter was born at the end of last year, Prior to that, I thought a little bit about how women see themselves in our society today. However, it didn't become a full and stressed filled reality until little Avy bug was born. When her life began in the womb, and when she was brought into this world through birth, I became responsible for her. This means I became the man she will look at and compare every other man to. It also meant that I became responsible for raising her in the faith, protecting her from the various tribulations of this life, and being there for her in her darkest and happiest times. One of the things that has stressed me out with this vocation, being the Father of a little girl, is how our society today views women. What will make Avy feel pretty, beautiful, and loved as she goes through life? How will she see herself as she continues to grow from a girl, into a young lady, and into womanhood?
Well, the answer is very simple. I have to be a real man. I have to be a man that isn't driven everyday by his own personal lusts, but rather walks through the day in sacrificial service for my wife, my boys, my daughter, and everyone else God places into my life to serve and love. If we try to find ways to help women feel better about themselves, without looking at how real manhood should be, then we are focusing on the fruit, rather than the root of the tree. If I desire my wife and daughter to know they are beautiful, pretty, and loved, then I must live a life of sacrificial love toward them. If I don't live this way, but instead just try to make them happy, then this is self-serving rather than true love.
St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote on this saying, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
When we look at Christ and His bride, the Church, we don't see Jesus telling the Church that she is something in and of herself. No. The Church is beautiful because she is loved by Christ. The Church is a group of sinful people, failed saints who succumb to the same sins day in and day out. The world looks at the church and sees nothing by a bunch of hypocritical sinners who judge others for the same sins that they secretly commit. The devil looks at the church as a den of self-righteous wannabes who fail daily at keeping the law. In addition to this, every little lamb called to be Jesus saint has that sinful flesh still hanging on us like a corpse, dragging us daily into despair and other great shame and vice. The only voice that comforts the church in who she truly is comes not from this world, but comes only from above. Jesus speaks the only words that beautify the church and assure her that she is loved unconditionally. Jesus speaks words of absolution which free the church of all her sins. Jesus speaks words of reminder, pointing the church to His sacrificial death to show how much and in what way He loves her. Jesus doesn't come up with some scheme to make the church feel loved and appreciated. No. He instead sacrifices all of Himself for her on the cross and continues to forgive her all of her sins daily in the means of grace.
The greatest thing I can do for my wife, my daughter, and every other woman in my life is cover them in the righteousness of Jesus and tell them that they are beautiful, they are pretty, and they are loved. They are beautiful in Jesus and God's beloved creatures. My prayer then everyday is that my wife, my daughter, every man and woman as well, sees themselves as beautiful saints of Jesus the Christ, destined for eternal life.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.