Imagine this man. He respects your free-will. He says, “You are a garden enclosed my sister, my bride, an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed” (Song of Songs 4). He believes you are beautiful since he compares you to a garden. He also knows that you are vibrant, full of life and possibilities. Your garden is within but can be seen from without. He does not come to overtake this garden of life —he waits. He does not want to “arouse…love…before its own time” (Song). He respects your freedom, your mystery. He shows his patience through discipline for love of you.
LOINS GIRDED, A DISCIPLINE TO PROTECT THAT WHICH IS SACRED
So, what is “loins girded” ?
It means after choosing to stand fast to keep feminine dignity to now practice authentic womandhood.
At those times discipline seems too hard, remember that children are watching a whole person—body, mind, spirit, and soul.
- Through my body, I should practice caring for my eyes by looking for goodness, in moderation, and avoiding those things which degrade either women or men; I should care for my ears by listening in balance with silence and avoiding scandal and gossip; I should care for my mouth by using my tongue for balanced speech, not for destruction, degradation, or long-windedness. If I can use self-control in eating and exercising (or have that as one of my goals), and/or have the discipline to shower and clothe myself everyday, then these other parts of my body which need care can be taken care of responsibly, too.
- Through my mind, I must think of what is pleasing to God. I have to practice thinking about Him. It is a spiritual exercise. Read about Him with my spiritual hunger, learn about Him with the sensitive ears of my mind, and reflect on Him with the discerning eyes of my thoughts.
- Through my spirit, I have to keep my feelings secure, exposing those intimate energies to those who can truly respect. Those feelings reach inside of me and communicate from my soul.
- Through my soul, I hand over that responsibility to God. He helps me with all of the above and most intimately takes care of my soul.
Disciplining myself helps me to be a diligent parent towards myself and those whom I hold so dear. I do not want to be a part of their downfall by not teaching them how to respect healthy boundaries, by not teaching them self-control through *discipline. It is like learning anything, from soccer to piano, from science to writing. Anything worthy takes practice to care for. He’s told me I am worthy as a woman; now I must accept the diligence it requires to manifest my potential in body, mind, spirit, and soul.
“At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy
but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11)
Suggested mentors: St. Francis De Sales (see true friendship in Introduction to the Devout Life) and Mother Teresa (see the possibilities of motherhood, accepted)
*Note. Discipline and responsible care are synonymous in this piece. Discipline is not a punishment but an exercise.