Simple Catholic Snapshots
- The Marvel Comic Wonder Woman was created and published in 1941.
- A demigoddess, the Marvel Comic Wonder Woman was formed from clay and given life and superhuman powers by the Greek gods.
- The Marvel Comic Wonder Woman (a.k.a Diana Prince) helped found the Justice League to fight crime and promote social justice.
- The original Wonder Woman was born 2000 years ago.
- A humble Jewish girl, she was born to human parents Joachim and Anne.
- With a simple “yes”, this original Wonder Woman (a.k.a. Theotokos) brought perfect justice into the world.
Simple Catholic Truth
Well, the new Wonder Woman movie is smashing box office records, taking in over $225M world-wide. It is heralded as landmark in addressing Hollywood’s “gender problem.” Wonder Woman boasts a female director and launches the first major studio film franchise featuring a female superhero. Wonder Woman’s creator William Marston would be proud, for you see his original intention was to use the Wonder Woman character to promote the growing feminist movement. He was interested in women’s suffrage and in Margaret Sanger, the birth control and women’s rights activist and founder of Planned Parenthood.
Marston was quite the progressive of his day – he and his wife Elizabeth cohabited with Olive Bryne (who by the way was the niece of Margaret Sanger). Marston fathered children with both wife Elizabeth and mistress Olive.
The icing on the cake had to be when on October 21, 2016, the United Nations named Wonder Woman a UN Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls. Isn’t that great, couldn’t the UN come up with a better role model than a fictional, non-human amazon sporting an impossible figure, one-piece bathing suit and magic bracelets?
If you want to spend $10 a ticket for a little entertainment then of course that’s just fine. However, if Wonder Woman is offered as a solution to the perceived lack of female role models then I suggest that people are looking the wrong direction.
I don’t know about you, but it only took me about 2 milliseconds to think of a much better example for superhero and mentor. This one is so good, she is the perfect role model for young women and men alike. With all love and respect, I’ll call her the original superhero wonder woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
What else would you call a 14 year old Jewish girl that said “yes” when called by God?
Consider the piety of Mary. Consecrated to God at an early age, perhaps at age three, she committed to spend her early years (childhood to wedding day) in service to the Temple. She gave herself completely to God for His purpose. Being born without sin, she was certainly aware of the lack of temptation in her life but probably didn’t fully comprehend its significance.
It is hard not to imagine a special pure love that Mary felt for God. With great humility, she spent these years serving God. During her years in the Temple, she was educated in Scripture and spiritual practices and waited with great patience, in anticipation of the Messiah. Most certainly, she was not aware of her unique future role.
At the end of her Temple service, Mary was betrothed in marriage to Joseph but we must keep in mind that she remained consecrated to God in perpetuity. A conjugal act with another man, even her earthly spouse, would defile her relationship with God. Hence the perpetual virginity of Mary even as legally married to Joseph.
With that in mind we now recall the Annunciation. Imagine the superhuman trust and faith in God Mary must have had. She obviously is completely aware of her vow of chastity that was part of her consecration to God. After being told that she would conceive and bear a son (Lk 1:31), Mary questions the angel as to how that is possible (Lk 1:34). I think it is important here to understand that by these words Mary is not questioning the power of God in making babies. Rather, recalling the prophesy of Isiah that the Messiah would be born to a virgin, she is demonstrating great humility in the face of God.
As a student of Scripture, I’m sure at this time Mary realized that her Son would suffer an excruciating death and as His mother she would suffer also. Yet, facing this personal suffering she showed great strength and conviction in surrendering to the will of God.
It is also important to note that Mary’s fiat (Latin for “let it be done”) demonstrates that her free will was very much necessary. By saying “yes”, Mary allowed God to come into the world and rescue us from our sins. In this sense the Church describes Mary as Co-Redemptrix., not to suggest any human power that Mary has but rather to highlight that our salvation very much included a loving response from Mary. Our Protestant brothers and sisters have great trouble facing this fact because they feel that anything that a human does somehow subtracts from the power of God. Actually, just the opposite is true. Yes, God could have planned to save the world in any number of ways. But, the way he chose to save the world depended on the free-will choice of a fourteen year old Jewish girl.
Two thousand years ago, God asked Mary to participate in His master plan for all mankind. God asked Mary to love Him totally, to hold nothing back. God asked Mary to trust. God asked Mary to risk scandal, undergo incredible joy and later endure the horrific loss of a child… all for us. Thankfully Mary said yes.
So here is our true Wonder Woman of the ages. Here is our superhero of piety, humility, patience, courage, strength and conviction.
This is Theotokos, the mother of our Savior.
Our wonderful Mother.