This is a guest blog post by Fr. Martin Connor, LC
Some of the most moving scenes in those old war movies are the ones where the soldier, leaving for war, says goodbye to his beloved before the departing words: “I will come back for you." What woman, deep in her heart, wouldn’t want to hear those words? I am not a woman and I would. Love affirms self-worth.
Such words speak to the heart of a woman’s self-worth: I am worth the fight, I have value and others recognize it. This is what we call dignity. It is the dignity of every human person. Each human being has an inestimable value, an inviolable dignity just because they are human and made in the image and likeness of God. Indeed God made each of us good, very good (Gen 1, 31).
Such simple words but they are profoundly important: I am very good AND it is good that I exist.
Human beings, particularly women, can easily forget this because so often the dignity of women is violated today reducing her to a mere object. She is nothing more than a “play-thing." So often she is measured only by the physical: Her hair, her body, her smile. Society says you are valuable if you appear like this, only if you have this type of hair, or body, or smile and if you don’t – goodbye!
What loneliness exists in the life of many women who don’t “make the cut." They apparently don’t fulfill the current standards of beauty or sexiness. Rejection, self loathing, shame, and depression quickly follow.
What a tragedy to reduce self-worth to your body yet so many do. In this “disposable” culture we need to encourage one another not to reduce our human worth to the mere physical nor allow the exploitation of the body - male or female. It is simply unacceptable to view the human person as disposable.
The sacred identity of any person is so very linked to personal dignity and a woman’s dignity includes all of her: body and soul.
This is very important to remember.
If you are a woman, it is important to remind yourself often of this fact: All of me is good. You have dignity. You have incredible worth in the eyes of God and deserve to be cherished. Please know this. What is inside you is equally, and sometimes even more important, than what is outside.
When a woman rests in this fact of her dignity, when she truly believes it, and it is affirmed by others, then she experiences profound joy. This is not a joy that is faint or superficial. No. It is a joy that is deep and comes from more than just someone saying you are cute or you have nice shoes. It is an inner conviction from within that says, “yes I am good” and nothing can shake it. This conviction also radiates outward in your persona. When a man notices a woman who communicates this message, there is only one reaction: Wow! Her beauty, her goodness, her femininity speaks for itself. This melts any man because it communicates self respect.
“I want to be more joyful but I don’t know how” so many women tell me. Begin with your dignity: I have value. I am good. God created me very good and nothing can change this existential fact. And that is a beautiful thing to remember. This memory, if you cling to it despite the messages around you, will give you joy.
Second, hang with people who strive for the same. This is a second source of joy. Because we are relational beings by nature, life giving relationships play a huge role in who we are. People often either build us up or tear us down. Those who build us affirm us. They don’t use us. They love the good in us and show it in many ways even, telling us the truth when we stray from our dignity. When our dignity is validated by others deep joy quickly follows.
You, Me and NFP is about your true dignity and the joy that comes from understanding and “owning” this dignity. You are worth it!
About Fr. Martin Connor
Fr. Martin Connor LC, born in Baltimore MD, grew up near Annapolis, one of eight children, the last two of which are Legionary priests.
Entered the Legionaries of Christ in 1990 after graduating from Boston College. Ordained to the priesthood in January 2001 in Rome with Fr John Connor who works in NY. Spent his first 7 years of his priesthood in Dublin Ireland where he was chaplai
n of a Catholic Elementary School and Director of a Family Center. During that time he was spiritual director to the youth and adults of the Regnum Christi Movement in both Ireland and Great Britain.
From 2007-2010 he worked as chaplain to the Conquest Youth programs of Regnum Christi that run in Northern Ohio and Indiana. He holds degrees in Philosophy and Theology from Boston College and from the Pontifical Atheneum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He is certified in Theology of the Body.
Currently, Father Martin resides in the Atlanta, GA LC community where he serves as the Chaplain to the Lumen Atlanta Chapter and the RC Atlanta Local Director.