How Zooey Deschanel Embodies the Mystery of Femininity (And the Church)

23 Oct

We all know that story. It’s been and continues to be a Hollywood staple from the time of Hepburn. It’s the story of the quirky girl.

The quirky girl is an archetype of sorts, and the stories of her grand and whimsical adventures almost always turning topsy-turvy the life of some random, slightly stodgy, unsuspecting man. From What’s Up, Doc? (Let’s be real. Streisand is adorable) to Liza Doolittle to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the story remains the same.

And no contemporary embodies this archetype to a greater extent than our dear Zooey.

Anyone with a Pinterest or a Tumblr has undoubtedly seen this picture. But just short of crying over tea kettles, what’s she really saying? Why do we love the quirky girl so much?

Because, um, hello. Women are

What’s even cooler is that the Church has known this for centuries. The Church is obsessed with femininity. Because in it lies the nature of the Church herself.

While the Gnostic heretics saw the feminine principle as representative of the earthly, fleshly matter and negativity they so loathed, the early Fathers of the Church saw it differently. The Feminine principle, to the Church, is the perfection of active receptivity. In no way is this the same thing as passivity, as only waiting and be done unto.

Women are the image of the soil in which the seed falls. The soil receives the seed and provides the nutrients and matter it needs to grow into fruit. There is nothing passive about it. The soil pours itself out, gives all of its goodness to create life. The seed by itself cannot do anything; it needs the environment, the acceptance into something greater.

Femininity in its deepest nature is this amazing receptivity, this ability to grow something from within yourself. Where masculinity is focused on the external output, femininity is deeply and interiorly rooted. Be it emotional, spiritual, or physical, women grow from inside themselves, produce the greatest wonders from an internal well-spring of being and emotion.

This is why a woman is so priceless to the life of the world. We cultivate the art of being a human within our very hearts. We grow wonder and feeling and truth in our very souls by the pouring out of our feminine being.

Femininity is astounding.

People often think of the Church as a masculine entity. In truth however, it is theologically only ever referred to as “She”, and the early Church Fathers were obsessed with her nature as the Bride of Christ. It is not intended to have an industrialized mentality of numbers and productive output.

Papa Ben, before he was our Papal pal, and Hans Urs Von Balthasar (a theological Batman) wrote excessively and passionately on the power and necessity of the feminine interiority, especially in its perfection in Mary and her example. Il Papa said,

“Only the Marian dimension secures the place of affectivity in faith and thus ensures a fully human correspondence to the reality of the incarnate Logos. Here I see the truth of the saying that Mary is the “vanquisher of all heresies”. This affective rooting guarantees the bond ex toto corde -from the depth of the heart- to the personal God and his Christ…”

The Church is not a manufactured item, but a Marian mystery. It is, at its heart, holy soil for the Word. The Kingdom of God on earth is intended to be the constantly emptying, growing, loving, richly receiving heart of a woman. It is founded on the vulnerable imperfection of its members and a home for the life of the world. All the Church, laity and religious, men and women, are called to grow in the feminine principle of the Church. Every single person is designed to be receptive to God and His Word in the same way that women already bear in their very beings, their very design. Every person is called to be the soil that gives itself up to grow the beautiful, the true.

If you’re not absolutely terrified by the exquisite power of the feminine,  you’re not thinking about it extremely enough.

And nobody displays the sheer might of affective interiority like Mary. She’s not messing around.

Without woman, without Eve, without feminine receptivity, the world is a seed that can never flower.

Quirky girl is such a staple in our culture because she represents something true: The fact that your utterly unique instance of being feminine (because each way is as unrepeatable as it is united in the common wonder of the feminine heart) is meant to change the world. In fact, if lived right, it can’t not change the world. If you accept whole-heartedly your ridiculous, epic worth as a woman, you step into the shoes of the quirky girl. You are the one who will turn the life of not only a man (although, he’ll luck out!) but the whole world upside down, simply in being your unique feminine self. And you don’t need bangs, cat-eye framed glasses, and polka-dotted dresses to do it (but that would also be adorable). You are already that powerful. You can already cultivate the beauty of the world. Admire things. See the world. Think things and have ideas. Read books. Listen to music. Someday, maybe have children. Love others. Love Christ. Because from your interior springs the life of the world.

So, woman, “Don’t let someone steal your tenderness.”


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