Last Monday I shared with you statements about women by the late Pope John Paul II contained in the booklet, The Genius of Women. What I find so provoking about his letters and reflections is the call to renew our commitment to work for peace--a peace that is not merely external, but one that "affects people's hearts and appeals to a new awareness of human dignity."
Yes, he invited us to be "teachers of peace with our whole being, and in all of our actions." He instructed us that first we must nurture peace within ourselves and that this "inner peace comes from knowing one is loved and from the desire to respond to His love." And then he addressed women in the new millennium and said, "The hour has come when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness."
I think we can all see that truth more clearly now, especially after the past decade, as women have made even greater contributions in the areas of sociopolitical and economic structures, as well as spiritual and cultural--breaking the glass ceilings at increasing rates. We have acquired more power to influence and effect than ever before in history because we have more opportunities and freedom that were fought for by our "sisters" that have gone before us.
At the close of Vatican II in 1965, it was stated that "women imbued with the Spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling." Although that was over forty-five years now, the truth remains, WE ARE THOSE WOMEN! We can do so much to aid humanity. And so John Paul II issued the challenge: "Will we be women imbued with the Gospel? Will we say YES to God and use our new influence and power in ways that are life affirming--ways that bring reconciliation and peace? Will we use it wisely, fairly, prudently or for our own gain--or will we not take responsibility at all?"
There are so many women--our sisters in other countries, as well as our own--who are suffering from every kind of exploitation and domination. They are being raped, mutilated, abused, sent into slavery, tortured, and killed today--this very moment. "We can not remain indifferent to the violence against women."
After reflecting upon this today, the scripture verse that rings out is, "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Eph 5:14. I have been one of the sleepers, but now risen by the grace of God. May we fully rise and enter this day into greater light and offer a sincere gift of ourselves in service to a hurting world.
Moving forth, let us remember our Mother Mary's sensitivity--her "genius" as described at the Wedding Feast when she recognized the human need for more wine and bring that unique capacity into our societies' systems so that they may "be redesigned in a more humanizing way--marking a civilization of love."
You might also be interested in reading this earlier post on Genius of Women:
Grace & peace,