In the month in which we honor Mary, Pope Francis focuses on all women
The contribution of women in all areas of human activity is undeniable, beginning with the family.
What is it like to grow up on the other side of the world, lacking running water and electricity, but possessing a fierce determination to improve your life?
But only to recognize it…Is that enough?
What is it like to be children, who hear about a family in the United States living without running water, and develop the ways and means to materially change and elevate the lives of others?
We have done little for the women who are in very difficult situations–despised, marginalized, and even reduced to slavery.
What is it like to be a gifted and artistic, and able to find spiritual healing from the cancer that took her life?
What is it like to suffer the indignity of violence and grief, and emerge through it, ready to serve someone else?
What is it like to endure injustice, prejudice, ignorant hatred, and one day decide “that’s the line”, and refuse to endure any more?
We must condemn sexual violence against women and remove the barriers that prevent their full integration into social, political, and economic life.
What is it like to be uneducated, constrained by social expectations, and — despite it all — become an unforgettable fire?
So many women throughout the ages have lived through these questions and have blossomed within the answers. So many more are still looking for the route that will bring them, too, out of poverty, out of violence, out of bondage, and into the place where their feminine genius may flourish and grow, like embers exposed to oxygen, spreading warmth and light.
In the month of May — the Month in which we especially honor Mary of Nazareth, by whose “fiat” the Christ came to Be — the Holy Father is inviting the whole world to consider the dignity of women, the intrinsic and co-creative worth of women, and the need to assure their contributive participation in every sphere of life. Pope Francis says, “If you think this is clearly right, join my petition. It is a prayer–that in all countries of the world women may be honored and respected and valued for their essential contribution to society.”
It is no difficult thing to pray for the pope’s own prayer intentions: generally, it consists in praying a Hail Mary, an Our Father and a Glory Be, everyday, offered for “the intentions of the pope”. But here is another prayer, from Aleteia:
Lord Jesus Christ, Incarnate Word of the Father born of a woman; Redeemer who forgave, and healed, and talked with women, and permitted an anointing by the hands and hair of a woman; Risen Savior who first appeared to a woman, hear our prayers for the sake of women throughout the world, who remain challenged by ignorances both ancient and modern. Believing that when women live in safety, with nourishment, education, and opportunity, society itself is strengthened and families are better able to weather the common and uncommon hardships of life, we join our prayers to the petition of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, for the good and welfare of all women, everywhere, and their families. We ask this in your Holy Name.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us
Saint Joseph, Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us