Imagine that wonderful man, JESUS. He loves your heart. He repays that love with love alone because HE IS LOVE (St. John of the Cross). He knows your heart is real; he knows your love is real. He also knows love can really hurt.
We either suffer from the sin of others or through our own fault (St. Augustine). We are in a Fallen World—it is the reality.
Don’t worry; HE’S willing to suffer with you.
He sees your bruised heart. He wants to lend you more love, a love that cannot be outdone. With this love, he sends you the next piece of armament to keep your heart loving.
A BREASTPLATE, DIGNIFIED CLOTHING FOR THOSE WHO HAVE A
We were created to love. With that love, respect should follow. Unfortunately, there are those who will never respect a woman’s ability to love. The heart of love wears the dignity of AUTHENTICITY, which some people fear.
Some refuse to give us that dignity because they resist or cannot see that which is authentic and true. They will penetrate our heart, rip it up, then toss it aside, usually without even knowing they have done it. They can do this if they have become indifferent and cold or hateful and smoldering.
We must protect our heart with righteousness so that we can continue to love.
Becoming an authentic woman fulfills righteousness. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” and “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for they will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 5:3-12). Blessedness is beautiful. This is why we need a breastplate of righteousness (that which experiences pathos, ethos, and logos).
- Our maternal ethos discerns appropriate precepts. Are they maternal or childish? Are these goals for exposing what many others can only abuse or for protecting the true dignity of womanhood? Are these goals attracting the wrong kind of attention, or are these goals meant to lead with love? Does striving for this goal leave me inactive or indifferent when I have taken on too much? How do I participate in a man’s downfall? Can I help him by protecting what is sacred in me? Maternal ethos leads always to authentic dignity.
- The logos of a sister discerns appropriate priorities. What or who is the most important? Do I talk to God first? Do I take care of myself and my children after that? Do I realize that I am their most important educator? Do I teach them about God and the world? Do I take care of their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs? I only have one chance to raise them. Do I realize that “whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” means that I have to let others carry their own cross, helping once in awhile, and carry my own cross as well, being helped only when needed (Luke 14:27)? Sisterly logos prioritizes.
- The pathos of a daughter feels what is real. I know what dignity feels like. It is not letting my healthy boundaries fall whenever I feel the need to “be nice.” If I feel angry for some injustice, then I can remember that we are in a fallen world. If I feel love for something serene, I can remember that God is still in the world. If I feel fear, I can discern whether it is fear of evil or fear from a lack of confidence in God. These feelings are my counselors. Joined with ethos and logos, my pathos will keep me completely real.
I ask JESUS to provide me with this breastplate so that I may live in dignity as an authentic woman, keeping my heart intact for love so that I can help others to live to their full potential, too.
“…may you fight
a good fight by having faith
and a good conscience.”
Suggested mentor: St. John of the Cross (Dark Night of the Soul)