A couple of weeks ago I was on a high school mission, where we finished our final liturgy with a short time of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Afterwards the Franciscan friar who had brought Jesus out had to take the Blessed Sacrament back to the school chapel from the main hall, which meant carrying it through the rest of the school. Because by that point it was break time, I realised that I would need to go with him to make sure Jesus was protected from the crowds in the corridors.
It only occurred to me half way through our journey just how big a job that was! I was physically standing guard in front of Jesus! I may have only gone because I was the closest to the door, but God already knew that I’d be there. He knew I’d be the one to walk with Him and protect Him. He knew it would be me, and most importantly He knew that it would be a woman.
In The Lord of the Rings there’s a scene where Eowyn takes on the Nazgul, who claims ‘no living man’ can kill him. She cunningly, and movingly, responds with “But no living man am I. You look upon a woman.” She fought not with the weapons and tactics of men, but instead brought her own gifts to the battle field.
As women, we have a unique role to play in the battle to defend our faith, and we’re called to strengthen ourselves spiritually to play that role. We can stand guard for Christ not despite our femininity, but through our femininity. We fight with strength and dignity. We arm ourselves with truth and compassion.
One of my favourite saints is St. Faustina, and in her diary she writes that “When… my soul began to experience deep recollection and peace, I often heard these words in my soul:
"Strengthen yourself for combat."
Physical muscles get stronger and stronger the more you train them, meaning that, although they hurt at the time, they will have the capacity to lift more weight or cover a greater distance the next time you train. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Though maintaining a prayer life takes effort, and often God reveals things or asks things of us that hurt, learning to depend on Him and deepen our relationship with Him means that over time we become more able to fight spiritual battles.
God gave you your own gifts and strengths for a purpose. He made you a woman for a purpose. He knows where you fit into His army – whether that be fighting on the front lines, nursing the wounded or determinedly maintaining order back home. He wants you to fight with what you have, not with what you think you should have. He has a place for you. Ask Him to show you where it is…