For Lent: Redefine True Womanhood

Posted on March 2, 2012

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altcatholicah

By Barbara Jane Sloan, February 28, 2012

Forget giving up sweets with the subtle hope of losing the last couple pounds (guilty). This Lent, explore what it means to be of the dust of Eve. The following are some creative takes on how to approach the three penitential practices—prayer, fasting and almsgiving—in order to cultivate a sense of true womanhood. Readers, please include any other ideas in the ‘comments’ section! God bless your Lenten journey.
Pray:

- Pray the rosary. Yes, the whole thing!
– Reflect on women’s stories in Scripture: [Books of Judith, Esther, Ruth, Hannah (1 Samuel 1:1-24), Sarah’s Laugh (Genesis 18:1-15), Psalm 45, Psalm 139, The Godly Woman (Proverbs 31), The Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42), The Woman with the Hemorrhage and Jairus’ Daughter (Mark 5:21-43), Marian stories of the Gospels]
– Rally the troops—include Mass in your weekend activities with friends, or alter your coffee shop conversation to include spirituality.
– Contemplate the unique aspects of womanhood, and of your femininity, and pray about ways to put these into action.
– Pray for your vocation—your future spouse or religious order.
– Read Mulieribus Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women

Fast:

- Replace Katy Perry with the music of Catholic artist Danielle Rose. Fast from media and entertainment sources that mar the dignity of women, or that contribute to a woman’s negative body image.
– Replace time spent reading Vogue or watching Grey’s Anatomy with time browsing Catholic women’s websites such as altcatholicah.com and thenewfeminism.net.
– Replace time shopping with time making handmade gifts and cards for friends and relatives, to show you care.
– Fast from negative self-talk about your value or appearance.
– Dress modestly.
– Fast from gossip.
– Close the chatterbox—take time to listen in your relationships.
– Fast from romanticizing married life or religious life, or other peoples’ lives in general. Renew living joyfully; your life is a great romance with the Lord!

Give Alms:

- Give some of your free time to busy married friends, especially those with children. Go out of your way to visit, babysit, bring over a meal, help around the house, etc.
– Clean out your closet—donate clothes, shoes and accessories to a local women’s shelter. To quote a friend, “Poor people like nice clothes, too.”
– Explore opportunities to enact the Corporal Works of Mercy.
– Donate time and money to local organizations that support women in need and women’s issues.
– Become an active voice in women’s issues in politics.
– Cultivate awareness of women’s issues around the world. Respond to those needs that especially compel you.

Barbara Jane Sloan is a writer and high school theology teacher from Atlanta, GA.

This piece originally appeared at Catholic Exchange and is reprinted with permission.

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