POPE FRANCIS ON THE IRREPLACEABLE CONTRIBUTION OF WOMEN IN THE WORLD.
On the 8th of March 2019, in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience a delegation of the American Jewish Committee. In his address, he said:
“Today, 8 March, I would also like to say a few words about the irreplaceable contribution of women in building a world that can be a home for all. Women make the world beautiful, they protect it and keep it alive. They bring the grace of renewal, the embrace of inclusion, and the courage to give of oneself. Peace, then, is born of women, it arises and is rekindled by the tenderness of mothers. Thus the dream of peace becomes a reality when we look towards women. It is not by chance that in the account of Genesis the woman comes from the side of the man while he is sleeping (cf Gen 2:21). Women, that is, have their origins close to a heart and a dream. They therefore bring the dream of love into the world. If we take to heart the importance of the future, if we dream of a future peace, we need to give space to women.”
The Gospel of St. Luke narrates to us that in Jesus’ task of preaching the Gospel from one village to another, He and his disciples were accompanied by holy women:
“Accompanying him were the Twelve and SOME WOMEN who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, AND MANY OTHERS WHO PROVIDED FOR THEM OUT OF THEIR RESOURCES” (Lk 8:1–3).”
The women who accompanied them had the task of helping Jesus and his disciples “out of their resources”, says St. Luke, underlining THEIR GENEROSITY AND SHOWING THEIR HEARTFELT GRATITUDE FOR WHAT JESUS HAD DONE TO THEM, THUS COLLABORATING IN HIS WORK OF EVANGELIZATION AND REDEMPTION.
Everyone, men and women alike, share an equal dignity within the Church. Nevertheless, within this context of equality, women certainly possess specific traits which are of utmost importance in the task of evangelization.
Pope Francis, in his Sept. 16, 2015 General Audience, remarked that strong families are the foundation of a healthy society. THE STRENGTH OF THE FAMILY MANY TIMES DEPENDS ON THE MOTHER, WHO HAS RECEIVED SPECIAL BLESSINGS FROM GOD RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING; on the mother who through her firm faith, good example, total dedication and her very special feminine tenderness, is naturally equipped with traits indispensable for the education of her children in faith and virtues. The Holy Father said:
“‘I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies’ (Gen 3:15), God says to the deceitful and enchanting snake. WITH THESE WORDS GOD BESTOWS UPON THE WOMAN A PROTECTIVE BARRIER AGAINST EVIL, TO WHICH SHE MAY RESORT, IF SHE WISHES, FOR EVERY GENERATION. THIS MEANS THAT THE WOMEN BEARS A SECRET AND SPECIAL BLESSING, FOR THE DEFENCE OF HER CREATURE AGAINST THE EVIL ONE. As the Woman of Revelation, who runs to hide her son from the Dragon. And God protects her (cf. Revelation 12:6).”
Furthermore, St. Josemaria, appreciating the irreplaceable role of women to the family, to society and to the Church, said:
“Women are called to bring to the family, to society and to the Church, CHARACTERISTICS WHICH ARE THEIR OWN AND WHICH THEY ALONE CAN GIVE —THEIR GENTLE WARMTH AND UNTIRING GENEROSITY, THEIR LOVE FOR DETAIL, THEIR QUICK-WITTEDNESS AND INTUITION, THEIR SIMPLE AND DEEP PIETY, THEIR CONSTANCY…. A WOMAN’S FEMINITY IS GENUINE ONLY IF SHE IS AWARE OF THE BEAUTY OF THIS CONTRIBUTION FOR WHICH THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE— and if she incorporates it into her own life” (Conversations, 14 and 87).
The Gospels narrate to us that at the foot of the Cross, there stood three women, strong and faithful at the hour of difficulty (cf. Jn 19:25-26).
Woman is stronger than man, and more faithful, in the hour of suffering: Mary of Magdala and Mary Cleophas and Salome! With a group of valiant women like these, closely united to our Lady of Sorrows, what work for souls could be done in the world! (The Way, 982).
Let us thank all the women in the world who have given themselves generously and untiringly in spreading the faith in their homes, place of work, in the parishes and countless social settings, through their words, example, deep piety coupled with the feminine gentleness, constancy and love for detail.
Let us also ask God, through the intercession of the Mother of all mothers, the Blessed Virgin Mary, for all the mothers in the world so that they be more aware and responsible in fulfilling their irreplaceable and indispensable role on the evangelization of their family, which is the foundation of the evangelization of the society.
Finally, let us ask God through Our Lady so that countless women in the world would generously respond to their call to follow Christ in every state and condition in life: their call to holiness for many great things depend on them and only they could give.
To all the mothers and women in the world, our sincere and heartfelt gratitude! Happy International Women’s day!
Stay safe and God bless! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
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