If man was made from the slime of the earth, does it not follow that he will have a tendency towards earthly matters? If woman was made from the rib of man, does it not follow that she will have a tendency towards interpersonal matters? Does not man seek to subdue, conquer, and rule over creation; while woman focuses all of her efforts on people? Is not man afraid of dying before he has lived, while woman is afraid of dying before she has given life? Are not these two extremes in need of each other? Is not the plan of God a wonderful thing to behold?
4 thoughts on “Man & Woman”
This is wonderful. Perhaps the truth that you so eloquently bring to light here is the reason for one point of Latin grammar.
The Latin “homo” as well as its cognates in the Romance languages are masculine nouns, whereas “anima” is feminine. Homo or “human,” referring to the nature simpliciter, is associated with the man. Anima or soul, referring to the principle of life, the interior principle, the thinking and speaking principle which flourishes into civilization and even communion with the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, is associated with the woman.
The masculine homo is made from the feminine materia (mater); in turn, the woman (uxor) is made from the man (vir).
The same complementarity is found in the definition of human nature. C.S. Lewis once said, “You are not a body. You have a body. You are a soul.” He was wrong. You are neither a body nor a soul. You have a body, you have a soul; what you are is the being composed of these two principles, wherefore Aristotle defined man as a rational animal. The genus, animal, referring to the corporeal nature, is coupled with the specific difference, “rational,” referring to the subsistent, immortal, spiritual soul. Just as man is neither a body nor a soul alone, so is a household neither a man nor a woman alone, but it is the institution composed by the union of the two.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the thinker from whom C.S. Lewis would have derived his understanding of human nature as a pure spirit, namely Plato, is the same one who broke up the home in his Republic. And the same voices today calling for “gender equality” as opposed to the natural complementarity of the sexes, also tend to destroy the complementarity of body and soul, reducing one of them to the other in scientistic materialism or New Age pantheism.
This is perfect. Would you ever consider writing any guest posts for this site? Your thought processes are so wonderfully logical that I am absolutely certain of their source. The only thing capable of producing such thoughts is a wholehearted love for truth.
I never really noticed the similarity between the body’s union with the soul and the husband’s union with his wife. What a beautiful analogy! I always heard that a husband is the head of the household while the wife is the heart. But it would be just as true to say that the husband is the body while the wife is the soul. What a wonderful thought–I love it!
How true also is the fact that gender equality blurs the lines between body and soul. I’ve postulated before that racism exists because man is obsessed with his body. We glorify the material aspect of our being while ignoring the immaterial. This idea seems to explain the (lack of) reasoning behind the gender equality movement. Man’s body is moved by his soul, and without it he’s only a random collection of matter. Now all matter is essentially the same, so there is (they say) no real difference between the sexes. The proper view of things tells us that man is composed of both body and soul, but the body is simply a vessel for the soul. Perhaps what C.S. Lewis was getting at is the fact that man’s individuality is really contained in his soul. Man should only concern himself with his body insofar as it is necessary for the well-being of his soul. The soul-first approach would solve many of modern man’s problems.
Sorry that was rather jumbled and not as well thought-out as your comments.
Surely the kernel of truth in what Lewis said lies in that the soul is the form of the body and thus defines its essence or whatness. Technically, it is the body and not the soul that supplies a man’s individuality. There is a certain principle of equality among men that is caused by the common form with which we are all created; but it is matter which distinguishes any one thing of the same kind from another, and so every individual soul that is created must be joined to a body. Hence, you cannot really separate the soul from the body in considering what it means to be human. God judges the body along with the soul and punishes or rewards both according to the deeds of the man; the soul first at the moment of death, but after the resurrection and the final judgment, the body will join it.
However, if it were not for the soul, the body would be something else. Before conception, the matter that will be supplied as the body of a new person exists as food that is taken in by the parents, metabolized, and converted into reproductive cells. Likewise after death, when the soul is separated from the body, the body decomposes, and its parts are broken down into other things. Accordingly a body would be judged no differently from any other inanimate matter, except that it has been joined to a soul and participates in the soul’s deeds — it is quite literally moved and shaped by the soul. And although the body can influence the soul through the passions, the rational powers of the soul cannot yield to them without consent freely given.
Now the authority of the husband in a family is like the authority of the rational soul over the whole man. Yet in courtship, a young lady has a certain authority over her suitor, as everything depends on her consent; and it can truly be said that a man in love is animated by the object of his affection. This is so true that he can even begin to feel as though he is not himself while he is trying to win her love, hence the countless comparisons between love and madness that have been made since time immemorial. It is natural for a man to be conquered by a woman’s physical beauty before he even knows her, wherefore women’s modesty has always been an extremely serious issue — for the sake of men’s souls, to be sure, but also for the sake of wives and children who need their husbands and fathers to stay true to them. Evidently then, as a man and a woman get to know each other better, the relationship between them naturally changes.
In my parish, there are very few examples of husbands who successfully converted their wives to Traditional Catholicism, so quite a few married men assist on Sunday, with or without their children, but never with their wives. But there are many wives who have converted their husbands. I have heard it said many times that the wives who won’t come to the Traditional Latin Mass generally find it too inconvenient. Trads are often accused of being overbearing fanatics of the patriarchy, but the truth is that our men are weak. It is almost always the woman who determines whether the home will suffer from religious indifference. This may sound harsh, but it is simply an observation.
I don’t know what I would write about as a guest post, but if you really want me to, I suppose I could. There is no need to apologize, however. You are a talented writer and I really enjoy reading your posts, so please keep writing!
Thanks for the kind words and thanks for the wise words. I’ve learned much from your comments, and I would love to sometime feature an entire post from you. If you’re familiar with my writings, you know what kind of posts I’m looking for. Just consider it an open invitation if you’re ever interested 🙂