Husband & Wife Articles


 

What Would Jesus See?

Our Lord challenges men to see the ‘divine’ in women

By Heather Keimig

“Pretty woman, walking down the street. Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet!”

I remember watching the movie Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts, Richard Gere) about 20 years ago, while my young heart throbbed! For me, the movie was so romantic and I saw it far too many times. He loved her! He found the courage to say so (and bring her flowers)! They were so different, and yet their hearts had found one another. Ahhh. Bliss.

Bill and Heather Keimig have a young family with five children, "thus far," they say.

I have a few more years on me now, not to mention having lived a faithful marriage for most of those years, and those factors have taught me to see that Pretty Woman is not a great love story because it is mostly about lust, not love.

What would the screenplay look like if Jesus were the lead figure, instead of Mr. Gere? Well, we don’t have to wonder, because we find such a story in the Gospels!* Mary Magdalene played the female lead 2,000 years ago – and I’ll bet you she was a pretty woman. Perhaps her story began similarly to how Ms. Roberts’ character describes her descent into prostitution – she needed money, guys offered it for the use of her body, so she let them. Once that line is crossed, going back was not a simple matter for Mary Magdalene and, realistically, not much easier for modern day prostitutes or those who participate in pornography. When a woman surrenders her body in that manner to men, she doesn’t just “get over it” the next day.

Prostitution is one of the extreme directions that the misuse of men’s strength towards women can take. But Jesus shows both men and women the way out of this negative relationship. He did not go to Mary Magdalene and use her the way the other men in her world had. Rather, he used his strength for her healing and redemption! And she never forgot that gift of love expressed in the sea of hurt, abuse and cruelty. Her gratitude over her forgiveness was so immense that it gave her the courage to be one of only three people who made it all the way to Calvary with Jesus. The Forgiven Penitent stood with the Mother and the Priest (St. John) that dark day.

I think that Jesus has a special place in his Sacred Heart for women! After all, the closest human to him was his mother. She was given the immense privilege of sharing her very body and human nature with him. Those of us who have carried children within us know just how intimate that gift of self is. To consider how extraordinary it would have been to spend nearly a year living in perfect, continuous, intimate communion with the Lord in the womb makes my head spin!

As Jesus grew and matured, he would have experienced the same human attraction for “the other” that we all experience – except he would never have crossed from admiration, appreciation and respect into lust and utility. He would have always been able to identify his Father’s image in each woman with whom he interacted, regardless of how she presented herself – just as was the case with Mary Magdalene.

What would it have been like – 2,000 years ago – to be in the presence of Jesus, the physically fit and healthy, incredibly gentle, and very attractive man? Specifically, what would it have been like to be a woman in the presence of such a man?  The man who was all-Love, and no lust.  Who was all-sacrifice, and no greed. Who might have beckoned you to himself, never to use or abuse you, but to transform and heal you beyond anything you could have dreamed possible.

This then becomes the challenge for each man alive today who dares to call himself a Christian. Do you see the divine Spirit hidden in each woman you approach, and treat her with the respect due her as a unique creation of God? Blessed John Paul II taught us, “God assigns the dignity of every woman as a task to every man.”

Likewise, women! Do we treat every man with whom we interact as though he also was made in the image and likeness of God?

Our culture currently encourages us through all the usual ways to treat one another as objects – to be used, enjoyed, gotten around or discarded. Christ teaches us to see deeper than that – to see him in each person and respond accordingly.

If we would respect the true beauty in one another, I wonder what the theme song to that movie would be?

*(See John 8:3-11; I assume in this column that the unnamed woman caught in adultery was Mary Magdalene.)

Heather Keimig considers herself to have been genuinely loved by her husband, Bill, for all 15 years of their marriage … sometimes she even gets flowers! They live in the DC Metro area of Maryland with their five children.