Time flies when there is a blog that needs updating! I have just today booked my flight to Chicago for the National Council of Catholic Women's annual convention Nov. 9-12, where I will present one of the Saturday sessions on 'Authentic Womanhood.' Keep it in your prayers please!

I have recently started reading 'The Eternal Woman: The Timeless Meaning of the Feminine.' It was first published in 1934 by Gertrud von le Fort, writer and philosopher, and I am finding many beautiful things to ponder:
"Surrender to God is the only absolute power with which the creature is endowed. To bring about his salvation, all man has to contribute is his readiness to give himself up completely. The receptive, passive attitude of the feminine principle appears as the decisive, the positive element in the Christian order of grace. The Marian dogma, brought down to a simple formula, means the cooperation of the creature in the salvation of the world."
(Part 10 in this series) The following is the text, in its entirety, of one of John Paul's "Angelus reflections": the Angelus being the prayer of the Church to honor the Incarnation: Christ becoming man by Mary's consent. These particular Sunday addresses were given to pilgrims in Rome, delivered in 1995 in preparation for the UN's Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, which John Paul saw as a ripe opportunity to speak out on women's behalf. They are fairly short, usually between 3-6 paragraphs.

Women in Political Life (August 27, 1995)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. As the Beijing Conference is now close at hand, today I would like to stress the importance of a greater involvement of women in public life.
   A long tradition has seen mostly men involved in politics. Today more and more women are asserting themselves even at the highest levels of representation, national and international.
   This process should be encouraged. Politics, in fact, geared as it is to promoting the common good, can only benefit from the complementary gifts of men and women. Of course, it would be naive to expect "miracles" from this alone. It is especially true that for women no less than men, the quality of politics is measured by the authenticity of the values which inspire them, as well as by the competence, commitment, and moral consistency of those who dedicate themselves to this important service.
   In every case women are showing that they can make as skilled a contribution as men, a contribution which indeed is proving particularly significant, especially with regard to the aspects of politics that concern the basis areas of human life.

2. How great, for example, is the role they can play on behalf of peace, precisely by being involved in politics, where the fate of humanity is largely decided.
   Dear brothers and sisters, peace is the most pressing need of our time. A collective effort is more than ever necessary to restrain the frenzy of arms. However, peace is not limited to the silence of cannons. It becomes concrete with justice and freedom. It needs a spiritual atmosphere rich in basic elements such as the sense of God, a taste for the beautiful, love for the truth, the option of solidarity, the capacity for tenderness, and the courage of forgiveness. How can we not recognize the valuable contribution which woman can make to promoting this atmosphere of peace!