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.
Next Blog Article: The Feminine Genius and Sensitivity at HailMarry
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It is really a joy to be kicking off Old Fashioned Girl’s series on the Feminine Genius! I am excited to be writing about receptivity today, so let’s dive right in!
Receptivity is the most foundational of the four aspects of the feminine genius (which are comprised of receptivity, generosity, sensitivity, and maternity). This is because receptivity is the aspect of the feminine genius that we learn first by virtue of our identity as daughters to both our natural parents and our supernatural Father in heaven. In our identity as “daughter” we learn how to receive love. We learn that we are delighted in – that it is enough to simply “be” and to be loved. It is not by our merits that we are loved; we are lovable for the simple fact of our existence. “We are enough.”
It was the love of our father and mother that brought us into the world – not any merit of our own.
It is our Heavenly Father’s love which holds us in existence, for if He were ever to turn away His eye from us, we would cease to exist.
1 John 4:19 sums it up simply: “We love because He first loved us.”
This, in my mind, is the core of receptivity. Learning to receive the vast love of God for you as an individual. Learning to trust His word, that you are enough, no matter what the circumstances. That you are always worth fighting for, that He will always come for you, if you will receive Him and His love.
So why do we say that receptivity is part of the feminine genius? Well, we say this because women are receptive by nature in many ways. For example, we have the desire to be pursued by love, we receive the love of a man in a physical way through marital act, we have the ability to bear new life – our wombs receive and nurture that life, we tend towards hospitality and receiving friends and family into our homes. Everyone has smiled at the little girl who clearly wants and delights in nothing more than the love of her parents. All of us women have been that little girl!
From this receptivity of the Father’s love for us, comes also a receptivity to His will, and doing His will from a place of love.
We see all of these things come together in the witness of the saints, starting with Mary.
Mary’s yes to God’s pursuit of her when He sent the angel Gabriel to her, asking her to be the mother of His Son, sprang from a place of steadfast trust in God’s love for her and an absolute adoring love for Him in return. She could only have said yes to such a big (and probably terrifying) mission if she knew without question God had her back and would never let her down.
The fact that you are reading this right now shows that her “yes” echoed through the ages, being both life-giving and fruitful! And this is the way with God, that when we say yes to Him we are not only getting the benefit of responding to His love for ourselves, but it also spills over to the entire Body of Christ.
I don’t mean to give the impression, however, that receptivity always comes easy. Receptivity can be extremely difficult for me. I’ve had a long road towards learning that I have a Father in heaven who desperately loves me. I still don’t always trust Him completely and I still don’t always get it. But what I have learned is that when I’ve refused to be receptive to His love and His will, choosing my own will or acting out of fear instead, it has ended in heartbreak. When I’ve said yes to Him, no matter how afraid I’ve been when I said it or how bitter it felt to set aside my will, there has been both life and joy in that choice, sometimes in big ways and sometimes in small.
As I’ve thought through receptivity through the lense of my life, a couple of examples spring to mind.
The most special mission I’ve gotten to be a part of thus far in my life came out of what seemed to be a very small and insignificant yes.
I was leaving Mass one Sunday morning 3 years ago. I was fairly new to a renewed faithful and consistent practice of my faith – and feeling very alone in that. As I was trying to take my characteristic quick getaway from church without being seen, a seminarian came out of nowhere, planted himself squarely in front of me, and introduced himself. Now, he was no archangel Gabriel, but he did explain to me that there was a meeting coming up that week of some young Catholics to try to start a young adult group in our town, and would I please come?
Long story short, I went. What came out of responding to that invitation was a gradual taking on of a very instrumental role in starting and expanding our city’s first young adult Catholic community. As the months went by during the course of my time on leadership, new challenges would come up – something new to say ‘yes’ to. One of the biggest for me was leading bible studies, something I was really afraid to do. I felt under-qualified and ill-equipped. But the need was there and the ask was there and I went for it, and it ended up being the most joyous and fruitful part of my ministry.
This was such an exhilarating and life-changing experience for me that really taught me that God is not looking so much for qualifications as He is for love and willingness. In other words, God is really looking for receptive hearts and wills. He is more than capable of providing everything we need for any mission or task put before us, but He won’t do it against our will. Love never forces.
As thankful as I am for the role I got to play in our ministry and the fruit that has come from that, the place where I am most grateful for my feminine knack for receptivity is in the adoration chapel. There is no place on earth more fitted to focusing solely on receiving the love of God than being before the Blessed Sacrament. Being able to draw on the most childlike places of my feminine heart when I am with Jesus in the intimacy of the chapel enables me to simply be with Him, and receive His love. There is nothing more peaceful than when I am able to let go of all of the craziness of my life and just be with Him like a little girl, delighting in being loved by her Father.
O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to You,
Would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from You;
In all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness,
May I ever keep my eyes fixed on You
And abide under Your great light;
O my Beloved Star, fascinate me
So that I may never be able to leave
~ St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
UPDATE: Congratulations to Paula Mans, who is the lucky winner of our giveaway!
One lucky reader will win an 8×10” physical print of Psalm 46:10’s reminder of receptivity: “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” It has a bold calligraphy style, complimented by soft floral designs.
When her dorm room in college was covered with prints of inspirational quotes and scripture verses, Lindsay knew that God was prepping her creative heart for something great. In 2015, Lindsay left her full time job behind and invested into her dream for Just Love Prints. She took a leap of faith and trusted God, and He provided! With her BFA in Graphic design and minors in illustration and business, Just Love Prints allows Lindsay to use her gifts and talents for the glory of God. Lindsay also runs Juneberry Creative, which provides high quality designs for businesses, organizations, nonprofits and individuals.
Please support this beautiful Catholic artisan and continue to join us for the Feminine Genius Series, released every Monday.