Western society seems to esteem the barren woman in many cases.
As popular as tubal ligations remain, it seems women actually desire to be unable to bear children. Even when women do not choose permanent sterility for themselves, it seems the great majority willingly seek temporary sterility. That is, they choose to contracept with the intention to render individual acts of intercourse infertile. An epidemic proportion of women wish to have sex without the possibility of any resulting children, it would appear.
So, let us take a step back and ask ourselves an overarching question. Namely, what does God think of great multitudes of women choosing sterility?
To help us uncover the answer, we will turn to Scripture. And as a bit of a guide, let us look to Doctor of the Catholic Church, St. Lawrence of Brindisi. In his work, A Verse by Verse Commentary on Genesis 1-3, St. Lawrence has a fascinating section on Genesis 3:16. Eve learns from God in this verse that one of her punishments due to her sin would be the multiplication of sorrows and conceptions, and that childbearing would become painful.
The Doctor of the Church makes clear in discussion of this verse the implications of this curse. “Those who are sterile by nature by the very fact that they are sterile, suffer the greatest sorrows. In nature, sterility is a greater evil than being fertile and all its attendant pains,” St. Lawrence asserts. He goes on, “Wherefore in the Old Law, which follows the nature of things, sterility was abominable and was under a curse, as though [the barren woman] was under a curse by God.” A little later, the Capuchin Franciscan stresses, “Therefore, since sterility is a great evil, it originated from the sin of the woman and very often was also inflicted on women because of sin” (pgs. 186-187, emphasis added).
Did you catch that? God establishes in Scripture that the barren woman remains under a curse. Sterility is a result of the Fall of Eve. It is an evil—not a good. The barren woman is not to be desired or emulated. She is not to be considered blessed and fortunate.
Why? Because the ability of bear children remains a singular blessing from God that He bestowed on women. It is within their God-given nature as women to bring forth children.
The barren woman, if you pardon the simile, has become the sacred cow of our culture.
If you want Biblical proof, look below. What follows are passages of Scripture highlighting two key ideas: one, God considers barrenness a punishment; and two, fruitfulness in childbearing remains a blessing from the Lord. Most of these references are from St. Lawrence himself.
“For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech…” –Gen 20:18, a punishment.
Michal, King David’s wife was made barren on account of her despising her husband’s love for the Lord —2 Sam 6:14-23, a punishment.
“When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world,” –Jesus, John 16:21.
“No woman in your land will be barren or miscarry” –Exodus 23:26, a blessing from God.
Abraham’s wife, Sarai had never conceived (Gen 11:30). Yet, God chose to bless her in her old age to become the mother of Abraham’s descendant, Isaac (Gen 18:9-15; Heb 11:11).
“And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived” —Gen 25:21.
“Then God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her and opened her womb” –Gen 30:22.
“…The Lord remembered her, and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel” —1 Sam 1:19-20.
“‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John,’” –Luke 1:13, a blessing from God to cure the barren woman, Elizabeth’s plight.
I would add the following passages to St. Lawrence’s examples:
The angelic blessing to Samson’s mother, “‘Behold you are barren and have no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son’” –Judges 12:3.
“You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among, or among your cattle” –Deut 7:14.
“Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? says the Lord; shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb? says your God” –Isa 66:9.
“Behold, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” –Psalm 127:3.
“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table” –Psalm 128:3.
Sheol (a.k.a. hell in Scripture) is compared to the barren womb —Proverbs 30:16.
“And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” –Gen 1:28, the first command from God.
Despite all this evidence to the contrary, a great multitude of people within Western civilization act as though the barren woman is the perfect woman. Her want for sexual deviancy gives her a pass to obeying the Natural Law. The barren woman has a right, after all, as some argue, to access contraception to perpetuate her sterility through the entire course of her fertile years.
The voluntarily barren woman has swallowed the lie that her career aspirations trump her need to do God’s will. The contracepting woman lies to herself that sexual so-called freedom necessitates ignoring God’s wishes. The barren woman thinks herself blessed, when God views her cursed.
The voluntarily barren woman allows herself to become the partner for mutual masturbation in the course of contraceptive sex. She lowers herself to that of animals, failing to use her ability to reason to uphold the nobility of her fertility. The gift she has that a man does not to bear a child, she willingly sacrifices at the altar of indulgence and pride.
The barren woman, if you pardon the simile, has become the sacred cow of our culture. Entire institutions, including the legal system, with its definition of motherhood, children worthy of protection, and the nuclear family itself have all been redefined in an effort to ease life for those who choose a lifestyle of voluntary infertility.
The majority of so-called Christians, including Catholics, have used or continue to use contraception. They profess with their mouths belief in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. Yet, in their actions on such a fundamental and essential element of human life, they defy the Word of God.
As Jesus Christ Himself predicted, “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed!’” It appears that day has come.
God will not be mocked. God will see to it that all those who reap a harvest of rotten fruit will get their just rewards. God, have mercy on the barren woman who chose Your curse, rather than remain open to Your blessings.
What do you think of voluntary barrenness?