Reject Your Sins, Love Your Quirks, and Go Change the World

Though some of us have been slow to catch on, the Church has always celebrated the many faces of true Catholic femininity. At the triumphant end of the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II proclaims:

The Church gives thanks for each and every woman: for mothers, for sisters, for wives; for women consecrated to God in virginity; for women dedicated to the many human beings who await the gratuitous love of another person; for women who watch over the human persons in the family, which is the fundamental sign of the human community; for women who work professionally, and who at times are burdened by a great social responsibility; for "perfect" women and for "weak" women - for all women as they have come forth from the heart of God in all the beauty and richness of their femininity. ...

The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine "genius" which have appeared in the course of history...she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness.

Notice how Pope John Paul II emphasizes the rich variety that exists among great Catholic women. From papal documents to the lives of the saints, the Church sends us the message over and over again: There is no one right path to authentic Catholic womanhood. God has a special plan for your unique gifts and talents.

St. Catherine of Siena famously stated, "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire." We tend to focus on the second, more dramatic part of the statement, but the first is just as important: Be who God meant you to be. Embrace the one-of-a-kind brand of holiness that God has chosen for you. Reject your sins, but love your quirks. And the next time you look in a mirror, remember that you're looking at a woman who can set the world on fire.

The above excerpted from Style, Sex and Substance, a book on motherhood, sex, jobs, the culture and the power of a red suede pump.