Monday, November 25, 2013

A Fitting Example for Young Women

Today the Church commemorates the Great Martyr and All-Wise Katherine. I was thinking about how our society portrays women. These women, through all venues of the media by default, become the role models for our young women and girls in our Church communities. Here is a brief description of St Katherine taken from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Website.

Saint Catherine, who was from Alexandria, was the daughter of Constas (or Cestus). She was an exceedingly beautiful maiden, most chaste, and illustrious in wealth, lineage, and learning. By her steadfast understanding, she utterly vanquished the passionate and unbridled soul of Maximinus, the tyrant of Alexandria; and by her eloquence, she stopped the mouths of the so-called philosophers who had been gathered to dispute with her. She was crowned with the crown of martyrdom in the year 305. Her holy relics were taken by Angels to the holy mountain of Sinai, where they were discovered many years later; the famous monastery of Saint Catherine was originally dedicated to the Holy Transfiguration of the Lord and the Burning Bush, but later was dedicated to Saint Catherine. According to the ancient usage, Saints Catherine and Mercurius were celebrated on the 24th of this month, whereas the holy Hieromartyrs Clement of Rome and Peter of Alexandria were celebrated on the 25th. The dates of the feasts of these Saints were interchanged at the request of the Church and Monastery of Mount Sinai, so that the festival of Saint Catherine, their patron, might be celebrated more festively together with the Apodosis of the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos. The Slavic Churches, however, commemorate these Saints on their original dates.

Contrast this woman – wise, beautiful, chaste, faithful – to the example of women which our society has elevated to the rank of superstar…

The Top 5 Highest Paid Female Musicians for 2013. I will spare you the vulgarity of their photos, and encourage you to rather dwell upon the image of Saint Katherine.

Lady Gaga
Taylor Swift
Jennifer Lopez

While this list is not exclusive to who the society considers a superstar, it does represent the most popular women that “have access” to our young women through the purchase of music, and therefore a strong influence on the lives of young women today. Obviously there have always been “bad influences” in our society, just as there have always been “good influences” for our young women (and men) to live. The Church has already identified those women (and men) who lived exemplary lives for us to consider as life examples. These Saints were from all walks of life including doctors, philanthropists, kings, queens, mothers, fathers, children, and “all-wise” as was Saint Katherine. I think Saint Katherine, and the other great Saints of our Church serve as much better examples for our young women. Unfortunately most people today do not know about their own patron Saint let alone the myriad others the Church honors. And with our Faith stubbornly becoming comfortable as a “Sunday-only” Faith, since the Saints are commemorated oftentimes during weekday liturgies (as today) our youth will only come to know these great Saints if parents, godparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, clergy, and friends share these inspiring stories for all to know.

All-wise and Great Martyr for Christ, Katherine, interceded for us!

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