On Spiritual Gifts and Holy Attire as Seen in a Beer Commercial

110113Men and Women, of course, are very different. Vive la différence! This difference also reaches our spiritual lives and even effects liturgical preferences.

Without seeking to cause a firestorm of opinions, one of the critiques of modern liturgy is that it has tipped the balance decidedly toward a more feminine expression, especially in the area of music and preaching. Much modern music is emotive, relational and generally thematic of social concord and harmony. Many sermons too are more of the “can all we all get along and be a litter nicer” variety.

None of these themes are wrong. But too often the balancing themes (e.g. the cross, embracing difficult duties, enduring hardship for the kingdom, and being soldiers in a great battle against the kingdom of darkness) are notably absent.

Here again, let me be clear, this observation is not about right or wrong approaches, (both are needed) but the observation is about balance.

Most men seek to be challenged more than consoled. Learning to get along is a good thing, but there is also something to be said for finding a good fight and getting in it, for going forth to battle for souls and to snatch them from the kingdom of darkness and win them for the Kingdom of Light, to fight for what is just and true and to insist that compromise is too easily a form of betrayal.

Many women seem more comfortable with the call to tender love, deep relationship with Jesus, and forgiveness. Some seem downright alarmed with more masculine themes.

Again, as I presuppose, we both need each other, for truth without charity can be used to bludgeon and as such is not really truth at all. And Charity without truth too easily becomes a mere sentimentality. Pope Emeritus Benedict once said,

Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practiced in the light of truth…Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism (Cartitas in Veritate, 2,3)

And while this is all getting a bit heavy for a Friday night post, I somehow thought of the masculine and feminine genius when I saw the ad below. The men and the women have a very different preference displayed. But both have something to teach.

The women, for their part fulfill the texts which speak of us being clothed in righteousness, symbolized by the clothing.

1. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Col 3:12)

2. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But rather be clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts (Rom 13:14)

3. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Rev 3:3)

4. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Rev 21:2)

5. For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” The Fine linen is the righteousness of God’s holy people. (Rev 19:7,-9)

6. Adore the Lord in Holy Attire (Ps 96:9)

On the other hand the men demonstrate the need to be filled with the Spirit and to seek spiritual gifts, symbolized by the spirited drinks.

1. On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. (John 7:37-39)

2. For this is My Blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matt 26:28-29)

3. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them….Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?….Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”…Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd…These people are not drunk, as you suppose….No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people (Acts 2)

4. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit… (Eph 5:18)

Yes, here are two testimonies. Both are different, but both are needed and necessary. Vive la différence!

10 Replies to “On Spiritual Gifts and Holy Attire as Seen in a Beer Commercial”

  1. Too funny, you’re so stoopid**

    **stoopid – Extremely foolhardy, yet quite impressive if executed successfully.

  2. So funny! I was laughing, so my husband came over to see what I was laughing at, and now he’s sitting on the couch laughing!

  3. The video was not at all what I expected. I’ll be grinning about that for a while. One hopes there’s at least one vocation somewhere in the ad agency that fashioned that wry gem.

  4. Dear Msgr,

    “Without seeking to cause a firestorm of opinions…” But, Msgr, if I may offer a counter-consideration. The modern liturgy has become LESS feminine, not more. All of modern culture seems to have given way to unchecked masculinity…you see it in our ugly modern architecture (yes, lamentably, including many of our church structures built in the last 70 years). The irony, of course, is that as the culture has become “over-masculinized,” men seemed to have lost their masculinity, becoming more effeminate. Some have suggested that so go women, so goes the culture. As women ditch our femininity, the culture loses it. (And it seems the Mass, as it is most commonly offered, lost it right along with the rest of society).

    True femininity is strong and beautiful, not ugly, weak, and uninspiring. Look at the beauty of the older vestments: the intricate lace on the bottom of linen albs, the glorious embroidery on the vestments (all things one might consider extremely feminine!). Yet counter that with (often ugly) polyester chasubles and cotton albs, conveniently made to be an all-in-one alb/amice. Counter the beauty, grandeur, and glory of Gregorian chant, polyphonic masterpieces, and the complex beauty of the organ with the “emotive, relational and generally thematic of social concord and harmony” of modern music. It all seems to bring no challenge, thus it’s uninspiring…but the organ is an incredibly challenging instrument, polyphony is challenging, and it’s all other-worldy and lifts our souls up towards heaven and out (if even momentarily) of our base, worldly lives. These are the things that are truly feminine in their beauty, but extremely manly in their challenge and difficulty.

    Msgr, with sincere respect, I must disagree with that particular critique of modern liturgy and suggest that modern liturgy has not become feminine, or men would actually be more responsive to it. Real men eagerly rise to the challenge in the face of strong, beautiful femininity. But it sadly appears that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has in many ways become convenient, cheap, and lazy…in short, uninspiring to true masculinity. Love is not overly feminine, it is the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross – and that is the manliest of challenges. And love is our Lady’s true femininity beheld at the base of that cross, her femininely receptive Fiat ever shining.

    Thank you, Msgr, for your always good posts. Please pardon anything out of line here, it is written with sincerity, praying you and others find it within the bounds of the “economy” of charity – as it is intended as such.

  5. An overly sentimental lirurgy is perhaps particularly offsetting to men, but just because women want to be feminene it does not mean that they are attracted to all things feminised. Just as women are attracted to masculine men, they can be attracted to a forceful, challenging lirurgy.

  6. I absolutely agree with Julie that we have a decided lack of Beauty (and elegance, and refinement, and the graces) in this modern age, which can be seen in everything from modern architecture to music (both secular and liturgical) to fashion (when did we lose the art of dressing beautifully, with lovely details and colors and fabrics, both for men and women).

    However, I cannot help but think that the problem that you both allude to is neither a culture that is too feminized nor one that is too masculinized. Rather, we have become a culture that pushes, and even celebrates, androgyny. It not having something be too masculine, or too feminine, that results in this modern ugliness, it is that all must melt into the bland blahness of being neither male nor female. Masculinity in balance with femininity, strength with delicacy and grace, these are the roots of Beauty. For anything, be it a church or a liturgy, to be neither is to rob it of all its beauty.

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