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.