Spirituality Gender


#1

It is a fact that men and women see the world and react to it differently. Not that one is better than the other. It’s curious for me to notice sometimes, even in this forum, the differences in perceptions and expressions about certain spiritual realities. But the differences definitely complement and balance the equation. :slight_smile:


#2

Agreed, Sister.

On a related topic: Do you ever find that living in community with other women causes the “equation” to become unbalanced? How do you address this, if you do note it?

God bless you for your service to our Church.

In His love,

NCSue
acts17verse28.blogspot.com/


#3

Yes, I do notice it. In general, women religious communities operate on a very “feminine” mode. this is not saying there are individuals in them who have very strong qualities. But the sometime overly sentimental, feeling- motivated behaviors, sometimes illogical, responses to issues, drive me mad. Then you have the tendency to form “cliques” and the inevitable consequence of “you-me versus they-us” ensues more among women communities, I think (I have no personal knowledge with men communities). There is also a tendency to sentimental devotions than in what is solid doctrine. This is a generalization of course but because women are more created as nurturers, we tend to focus more on feelings. Religious life is no exception.


#4

I edited the statement above to better express my thought.


#5

Let me tell you about the new rules on here…

  1. If you support any sort of view that is different than what the mods believe, you will be banned. Discussion is not open for different and new ideas. Even if Catholicism is making a mistake, we support tradition.

  2. Everything the Catholic Church has ever done has been infallible. Therefore, there is no need for you to question anything about Catholicism, the Church is perfect. If the Church told you to kill someone, you should do it, no questions asked.

  3. Any rude and ignorant comments to others stating “You are not a true Catholic if you voted for Obama” will be accepted and is encouraged.

  4. God didn’t give you this conscience to use for yourself. You must substitute other peoples judgment for your own, and never question them, because their judgment is better.

  5. If you child someday asks you if they should use a condom, you should tell them “No, let yourself get HIV instead.”


#6

Thank you, Sister Helena, for your response.


#7

Dear Sister,
My wife and I are both very strong believers and Catholics. I concur with your assesment about gender differences in spiritualities. I have observed my wife’s growth in Christ for many years, and she has had the priveledge of observing me. ( just kidding) There is a very big difference in male-female worship,prayer-attitude, and outlook. I am sure that women communities and men communities must have some means to balance that kind of thing out. Or maybe not. I don’t know if it really needs that kind of balance.

I do know that as a means of attaining salvation, teaming a man with a woman, to work out your salvation together as a team, is certainly proof of God’s sense of humor. I do not know of a more ridiculous kind of pairing than man-woman unless of course allwomen together gets your vote. It can be pretty funny.

Of course there is the serious side too. I’m not being much help here. I’m too side tracked about the topic. too many ways to see this. Good topic.
Thanks peace to you this Lord’s Day!!
Tom


#8

Interesting topic for discussion, Sr. Helena. Thanks. I will continue to read this one.

But briefly, if anyone is interested in learning more about a men’s community… I recommend the following dvd. “Into Great Silence”. It follows a year in the life of the Carthusian Order of the Grand Chartreuse monastery. It is fascinating viewing. And I also found it to be extremely “settling” to my own soul. Almost like a meditation.

I wish there were a similar documentary, about the life of… say a Carmelite sisters community? <hint hint to Sr. Helena :wink: >. Here is the link. God bless.

ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/INTO+GREAT+SILENCE+DVD/keywords=Into+Great+Silence/page_no=1/edp_no=17142/shop.axd/ProductDetails


#9

Dear Sister,
After some time to think about it, I would like to say that as a husband I cannot really give a good point of view outside my own marriage. I know what I and my wife experience as we pray and live and share. I do not really have any insight into men’s communities or women’s communities.
For the longest time I looked at my spirituality as a personal journey. I now think that God has intended all along that this jorney be walked together with my wife. I see how through my relationship with her God has formed my spirituality.I cannot concieve of my life outside of relationship to her and of course my children. God works in me in this context, as father, husband, and at one time as a son and brother. The scriptures about marriage, two being made one flesh and love your wife as Christ loved the Church come to mind. It seems to me a small thing compared to all God has made and done but somehow this relationship is the biggest and most all encompassing thing that I can handle.
I don’t really know if this kind of reflection was what you were looking for. I hope this helps.


#10

This thread was intended to deal with the differences between male / female perception of, attitudes and expressions of spiritualities and prayer life. It is not intended to be a comparison of men and women religious communities. So on that note, eveybody has somethng to say! In general, men tend to focus on arguments and debates about spiritual truths (example: men interested in the CHurch history and Mariology as compared to women’s instinctive love of Mary and devotional practices to her without being caught up in the details of history and hermeneutics.) This is a general statement of course.

For our Faith to be well rounded, I believe we should have both attitudes- the intellectual and the affective part of our spiritual lives. Pure intellectual faith can become dry, boring and mentally exhausting. Devotions separated from theology is pure sentimental and cultish. St. Teresa of Avila used to say: “God save us from silly and empty devotions!” So for some women out there, find the theological foundations of your devotions and for the men out there, find the "female side " of you and go easy on the head!:slight_smile:


#11

When I was growing up, my mother would gather us all together after supper for the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Every time she asked my father to join in, he didn’t and just said “let you women say it.”:eek::eek: My father is one of those guys who let devotions stay in the female domain. I hope my father was just one of the few out there with this attitude!


#12

Great topic Sister.

I have been involved with a Men’s Apostolate for about 5 years now. There is absolutely no doubt that men’s spirituality is different from women’s. Unfortunately, many Catholic men have completely abrogated their spiritual responsibilities to the women in their families, parishes and lives.

Our mission “is a response to the call made by Pope John Paul II for a new evangelization, particularly the reinvigoration of faith among Catholics. Specifically, our mission is:
To raise awareness among Catholic men of their need to re-experience the spiritual awakening they originally received at their baptism, to nuture and deepen their ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit, so single and married men can accept their God-given roles as individuals in families, marriages, and churches;
To encourage men to seek opportunities for faith-formation, which may include forming or participating in a men’s faith sharing group at the parish level;
To affirm and encourage our clergy while enthusiastically encouraging men to recognize their healing potential for our Church and by teaching men how to pro-actively support their Catholic faith at the family, parish, and community levels.”

We have extensive faith formation information geared toward a “male spirituality” available free on-line here:
cmfpitt.org/podcast.aspx

For those who are interested in this ministry geared exclusively toward male spirituality, feel free to visit us at:

cmfpitt.org/default.aspx

We are affiliated, along with about 50 other local men’s apostolates, with the National Fellowship of Catholic Men, which can be found here:

nfcmusa.org/


#13

Thank you! Great information and sites! I appreciate your post on this thread.


#14

This thread reminded me of an article I read some time ago. I was actually able to re-locate it. I thought this might be pertinent:

The Loss of Masculine Spirituality
And Its Need for Renewal
By Jimmy Akin

catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0407fea1.asp

The part I found most interesting proceded from this premise:

“Contemporary Evangelical spirituality tends to be masculine, whereas contemporary Catholic spirituality is more feminine. The former tends to be mission-oriented; the latter is oriented toward union with God. One is directed outward and active; the other is directed inward and meditative. While both spiritualities are and should be found in both sexes, they can be given different emphases.”


#15

I like this input, well said.


#16

As a man who feels infinitely closer to women than other men, I feel I am in a unique position when it comes to spirituality, though I hardly have the resources to make adequate comparisons (see my thread on ‘Being Single…(And Sexuality)’ in the Family Life forum for more on this point).

I wonder, What are spirituality genders? Do men truly worship God differently than women? And to what degree are these genders stereotyped? And, further, what degree do we allow the stereotypes to influence how we worship?

It seems awfully dangerous to try to categorize and typify what makes up uniquely “male” and “female” spiritualities. One moment you think of the Blessed Virgin as meek, quiet, and humble – the next you learn of her courage, her audacity, her great strength. Her seemingly feminine passivity is superceded by her feminine strength. Likewise, sweet and charming Therese of Lisieux has the ability in her *Story of the Soul *to saturate the early part of her story with such honest pleasantries of family life in the Martin home that her later “Canticle of Love,” filled to the brim, as it is, with the willing desire to suffer the most extreme, violent martyrdom is more than a little shocking!

Likewise, since the Church has for much of its life been a male-centric institution, revolving around the Father-hood of God, the manhood of Christ, and the male priesthood, it’s really not surprising to learn that so many male saints were missionaries who were martyred, great thinkers who were severely persecuted, or bishops who defended the Church to his own death.

As a man, I may feel closer to the Blessed Mother, St. Therese and St. Gemma than Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure or Pascal Baylon, but I’m in an incredibly unique position hierarchically and sacramentally. I’ve never imagined that I worship God differently than any other position, except for perhaps trying to be more pious, but what do I know? Again, I have such little reference that I’m not sure if any of what I said has any true point about it…


#17

#18

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