Among my many sins (or compulsions or hobbies) is that I love to hold on to things. Someday I may need ‘this.’ You never know when I’ll run upon a way to use ‘this.’ And in fact, I have boxes of things in the garage, shelves in the office and things elsewhere -- all waiting for the time or circumstance when ‘voila’ happens! Before leaving this introduction, I’ll share that I have a few boxes in the garage that haven’t really been touched in years. Note: Would you like to see a picture of a young (I hope handsome might be an operative word too) Tom Fox on the set of the Armed Forces Radio & Television Network station in the Philippine Islands? That’s in the box in the garage marked ‘Tom’s Keepers.’
At any rate, here in my office I have some older books. Books that were treasured and held onto by someone else before they became keepers for me. One book is a compilation of prayers and thoughts written by a Fr. William Kelly, S. J. It’s called Women Before God and was adapted from another book originally written in German with the title ‘Frauen vor Gott, by Eleonore Beck and Gabriele Miller. There are many quoted authors ranging from the inspired writers of Holy Scripture to many known and not-so-known holy thought-smiths.
Have you heard of Edith Stein? If you don’t know of her, I encourage your exploration of this woman of words. She is known as Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
EWTN describes her: Edith Stein was a saintly Carmelite, a profound philosopher and brilliant writer who had a great influence on the women of her time, and is having a growing influence in the intellectual and philosophical circles of today’s Germany and of the whole world.
I found a squib in Women Before God with the title A GENUINE WOMANLY VOCATION. It quotes Ms. Stein with these words, "A genuine womanly vocation is that vocation in which the soul of a woman becomes its due, and which can be fashioned by the soul of the woman." Hmm. What is she saying?
This is followed by a longer prayer: "O God, I thank you for creating me and for creating me as a woman. You gave us women the capacity for devotion from the cradle. You made our hearts sensitive for selfless love. You have granted us a tender sensitivity for the needs of others. Our attitude is more receptive; it is open to You. We are called the weaker sex, but with You we are strong in suffering, endurance, patience and perseverance. Most of the atonement to be made in the world You have placed upon our shoulders. You have entrusted sacred duties to us. You have given us a queenly woman as model and example. We want to imitate Mary who completely fulfilled Your idea of motherhood.
Through her powerful intercession, I ask You to stay close to me, so that my life may please You and that I may glorify You for all eternity. Amen.
I don’t know about you - but I think I’ve found justification in hanging on to this little book of prayer and holy thought.
And dear ladies and Catholic Moms, please to forgive us men who have looked at you in ways ranging from improper to utilitarian. This book, and Edith Stein and the pray from Father Kelly remind me of the beauty and immense value of a Genuine Woman and her Vocation in life.
You are truly Women Before God, and perhaps in some senses, you are closer to God than we men. Please pray for us. I’ve been in prayer for you. I really have.
Copyright 2010 Deacon Tom Fox
About the Author
Deacon Tom Fox and his wife Dee are co-hosts of the CATHOLIC VITAMINS Podcast for over 6 1/2 years. Tom has also been a member of the Catholic Mom columnists team for eight years, and was a regular contributor to the Catholic Moments Podcast for three years. Most recently, Deacon Tom has been leading a project to bring Catholic radio to the north central Arizona community where he and Dee reside. Blessings!