Advent Week 2: Sor Juana

In Advent, we hold the tender heart of Mary as she endured social ridicule and blame while experiencing her changing body. Mary had to know deep within her that what was happening in her body was holy.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz wore an emblem around her neck that depicted the moment the angel Gabriel came to Mary. As a creative writer, Sor Juana looked to Mary as “the Mother of the word.” Even as Sor Juana was constantly criticized for reading and writing as a woman, she held on to the authority of Mary who spoke poetry in the Magnificat.

May we also carry Mary with us in this Advent season as our inspiration for knowing the divine within us.

In her most famous poem, Hombres necios que acusáis (O Foolish Men), Sor Juana reminds us of the absurdity of patriarchy that holds an idealistic image of a woman as both pure and sex object, then blames women for one or the other.

An Excerpt from O Foolish Men

O foolish men who accuse
women with so little cause,
not seeing you are the reason
for the very thing you blame:

for if with unequaled longing
you solicit their disdain,
why wish them to behave well
when you urge them on to evil?

You contend with their resistance,
then say gravely that the conquest
arose from their licentiousness
and not your extreme diligence.

The audacity of your mad
belief resembles that of the 
child who devises a monster
and then afterward fears it.

Juana Inés de la Cruz. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selected Works. edited by Anne More. Translated by Edith Grossman. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016.

See the Spanish version here Poema Hombres necios que acusáis