This post is a part of a Feminine Genius series written by 4 different bloggers, If you are just joining the series now and want to learn more you can start here: Introduction to the Feminine Genius Series. The series will conclude on November 27.
Previous Blog Article: Sensitivity at HailMarry
Next Blog Article: Maternity at The Freedom Project
A Season of Generosity
With Thanksgiving a few days away and the Christmas season approaching, now is a great time of year to reflect on generosity. With the holidays it feels like there is a spirit of generosity and giving all around. It’s probably why I love this time of year so much!
You’ll notice the plot of many Christmas movies revolves around whether a person is generous or not. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge, The Grinch, or Christmas with the Kranks. The main characters of each story all experienced some form of transformation in the area of generosity. The movie The Grinch depicts how closely generosity is a matter of the heart.
When I think about the feminine genius I’m reminded of how generous a woman’s heart can be all year round. During Advent, we will reflect on the mystery of God sending His Beloved Son to Earth as a sweet babe and think of Mary’s ‘yes’ to God’s will. We might ask ourselves, how are we giving? How are we serving our loved ones? How are we loving?
As women, I think it’s particularly edifying to realize how great a gift we have in the area of generosity. In Mulierius Dignitatum Saint John Paul II wrote, “A woman’s dignity is closely connected with the love which she receives by the very reason of her femininity; it is likewise connected with the love which she gives in return.” The love a woman gives in return is rooted in her generosity.
I like Mother Teresa’s quote, “Joy is a sign of generosity. When you are full of joy, you move faster and you want to go about doing good to everyone.” That’s another reason why the holidays are so wonderful—they are filled with so much wide-spread joy.
When I think of all of our family gatherings growing up, especially Christmas and Thanksgiving, I think of my mother, my aunts, my grandma, and other female relatives all spending hours preparing food for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners.
They are the ones who planned out gift giving, sent out family Christmas Cards and made their homes more festive. Their generosity brought joy not only to themselves but to everyone around them through their generous spirits and hospitality.
The Feminine Genius – Generosity
Generosity is one part of what is known as the feminine genius. For me, it’s the more tangible way in which I see women sharing their unique gifts to the world. A woman’s receptivity allows her to be guided by the Holy Spirit and her sensitivity puts her in tune with other people’s needs.
A woman’s sensitivity lends itself to generosity. By sensing the needs of others, women can respond with generous hearts, with their time, with their work, and ultimately with their whole self. Nothing demonstrates generosity more fully than maternity (in the spiritual sense as well as the physical), but that’s for next week’s post to discuss.
Example of Generosity – Our Blessed Mother
When I pray to Mother Mary to lend me her heart, I’m mostly praying to act as she would, and that intimately involves generosity. I’m asking to have a giving heart like hers. She was in tune to the needs of the couple at the wedding at Cana and asked Jesus to help. This was an act of generosity.
I’ve noticed that the same scenario plays out with me and my husband in little ways too. When we were shopping the other day I saw that a woman was struggling to reach a picture frame so I prompted my husband to go help her. I saw another woman struggling to lift a box into her car and asked my husband to help her as well.
Although I may not have been the one physically helping, it was prompted by my receptive heart to find a way to act generously, in this case by asking my husband to use his height and strength to help.
Acts of Generosity
I’ve noticed the more receptive I am to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, the more sensitive I am towards other people’s needs and the more generously I can act. Here are some ways in which I can act generously and you can too:
- Towards God: I can give God more of my time in prayer and spend more time praising God. I can respond to all the gifts that God has given me with gratitude.
- Towards Friends and Family: I like to help friends and family members when they are overwhelmed. I can let a friend know I’m available to talk whenever they need, send an encouraging note, or invite family over to our home for a meal.
- Towards Spouse: I can be generous towards my husband by noticing when he is stressed and offer him a back massage. Sometimes I sneak a love note into his backpack before work and I can always try to do the chores around our house out of love. My husband is one of the people who inspire me to be more generous daily.
- Towards Community: John Paul II in his Letter to Women says, “Women are ever ready and willing to give themselves generously to others, especially in serving the weakest and most defenseless.” I can be generous towards the community by volunteering or by being involved at my church. I can also spread beauty and truth through my community using writing or art, like the women featured in the giveaway below.
- Towards Self: I see self-care as an important predecessor to generosity. By taking care of myself I can sense the needs of others and act accordingly. I can give more fully to the things I’m committed to by not getting burnt out. That’s why sometimes I pull back from social media, or from taking on too much so that I can focus on my primary vocation of loving those immediately around me.
I’ve heard it said many times that God cannot be outdone in generosity so let’s call upon Him to fill our hearts with generosity.
Whether you’re serving a family or a stranger remember the immense gift that you are giving the world with your generous heart. God has given you a particular way to make the world a more whole and loving place, so embrace it!
A Special Giveaway!
One lucky reader will win a 20 pack of postcards and 5 stickers from Cassie Pease Designs as well as a print of Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s quote, “Do small things with great love” from Sweet Little Ones Shop.
Cassie is the Catholic artisan behind Cassie Pease designs. She’s a Catholic graphic designer from South Dakota. Her mission with the shop is to combine the wisdom and joy of the Catholic faith with the beauty of gorgeous imagery that inspires people to discover (or rediscover!) the joy of a relationship with Christ. The saints prove to be her main inspiration.
Jessica is the artisan behind Sweet Little Ones Shop. She is a wife and mother to three children through an amazing adoption journey. She has always loved designing and creating art. All profits from her shop go directly to helping her family adopt another child. You can learn more about Jessica’s adoption journey on her blog!
Please support these beautiful Catholic artisans and continue to join us in Feminine Genius Series.