We are snobs by nature. If salvation had ever depended on us, we would never have deigned to redeem the world by entering its sordid mangers.
Even when we come for a moment under the spell of the fairy-tale peasant who becomes king, the slave who delivers the city, the cinder girl who marries the prince — after all that, when left to ourselves, we regress to our native snobbery. Like all snobs, we look down at the office of the helpers.
We think of “helping” as the inferior role, or as a downward movement. And we feel any downward movement as a theft of our rightful dignity.
Here is the root flawed in the fallen vision: to think that helping someone do a thing is subordinated to the doing of the thing. But this is not God’s view. He was the King, yet He helped us, and in helping was glorified. He sees helping as a role distinct unto itself; so distinct, in fact, it requires the most exquisite and refined skill set of all. His view is the revolutionary one, while ours is wholly conventional.
This is really something to stop and think about, because it is in such simple language it is easy to miss just how completely it upends the universe. So, stop right here: the helper of the gardener is not less than the gardener. The helper does not derive meaning from the helped, or from the work of the helped; the act of helping has its intrinsic and underived glory. Underived.
When Eve was appointed helper of Adam, she became something that Adam was not. Her charism is a unique and noble charism, and there is nothing over top of it in some hierarchy.
Indeed, the distinction of the helping office derives from the Godhead, who has named one of His Persons the Helper.
The unbaptized mind mocks this, and sees here a conspiracy to trick it with fancy words into slavery. It is suspicious of the father himself. I think the lack of a father’s love makes it hard to trust enough to find dignity in helping. The inability to trust is the unhappiness of the world.
The unbaptized mind scoffs, but the true loss of dignity is in the gasping, desperate clawing to move up. Because it is such an insult to our dignity, Jesus constantly condemns the upward ambition. Jesus constantly pictures His kingdom as a mirror image of the world’s.
The feminist objection to traditionalist gender conceptions is rooted in this snobbery. There is an embarrassment about not being the primary. This is an inability to trust, a scar from a primordial insult.