Equal but Different: Wisdom on Being Men and Women of God

Ever feel like you want to do something so great and inspiring, something that will let Christ’s light shine through you so brightly that everyone around you will have to put on some shades?

Ever wonder why some of the Church’s most awesome saints just seemed to have a knack for it? It’s as if their ability to reflect Christ was built right into their DNA. The secret to their success is that they knew who they were as sons and daughters of God. Since God is our Father as well, the grace to be saintly is in our DNA, too.

We just simply need to embrace who God has created us to be uniquely, as men or women. Saint John Paul II noted that our bodies reveal truth about God — His attributes such as tenderness and initiative are etched right into us, uniquely. He said it is our bodies that make visible the invisible: our spiritual nature. Even our souls have an identity as masculine or feminine and our bodies reveal this identity!

Society so often pits men and women against one another in a battle of the sexes, but what if instead of being at odds, we learned to value each other for the unique gifts we’ve been given? Seems like a better use of our time and effort! Saint Catherine of Siena said that if we want to set the world ablaze, we simply need to be who we were created to be. Imagine being so confident in our identity as sons and daughters of God that we light up the world just by being ourselves and encouraging each other to live up to our full potential.

But don’t just take it from me. Here’s what some great men and women had to say about living out masculinity or femininity in such a way that stirs up the world around us.

“Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal, and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning.” -Edith Stein

“A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures — and that is the basis of all human morality.” -Winston Churchill

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” -Audrey Hepburn

“We need the iron qualities that go with true manhood. We need the positive virtues of resolution, of courage, of indomitable will, of power to do without shirking the rough work that must always be done.” -Theodore Roosevelt.

“To me, a lady is not frilly, flouncy, flippant, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle, she is gracious, she is godly and she is giving… The more womanly [women] are, the more manly men will be and the more God is glorified.” -Elisabeth Elliot

“Men need a challenge. Men need to test and prove their worth. Men feel most alive when they’re giving themselves to some purpose higher than their own comfort… As men, we’re hardwired by nature and confirmed by the Word of God to do three main things: to provide, to protect, and to lead — not for our own sake, not for our own empty vanities and appetites, but in service to others.” -Archbishop Chaput

“The woman is a gentle, loving bond who encourages, consoles, builds, reconciles and makes all things new and vibrant. A woman is ingenuous when all fails, resourceful in times of want, and a true helpmate for man. How lonely man would be without those special qualities his helpmate, woman, gives him.” -Mother Angelica (EWTN)

“It is the duty of every man to uphold the dignity of every woman.” -St. John Paul II

“When a young man or woman recognizes that authentic love is a precious treasure, they are also enabled to live their sexuality in accordance with the divine plan, rejecting the false models which are, unfortunately, all too frequently publicized and very widespread.” -St. John Paul II