When having a conversation about women there are a lot of things we can share:
- How strong and persevering women are in the offbeat situations of life and how each woman can be an inspiration in the lives of many.
- The ways in which a woman can paint a uniquely significant picture of a beautiful life that is all about love.
- How women who win over justice, and fight for democracy and freedom, choose the path that sees them not remaining in the darkness of silence but bringing light to those who are oppressed.
- For those women who become mothers, how they build the strong foundation of a family – caring and safeguarding each member of the household, she is particularly keen and sensitive to everyone’s needs in a detailed manner.
Many women become the heroic paradigm of living the Christian life and some are eventually proclaimed as saints by the Church. They may have come from different races, be raised in a variety of cultures, beliefs and have faiths nourished through distinct religions. They may have been molded through different family upbringings but there is one thing in common to them all: their inner power – a spirit of strong will and of confidence.
In the Gospel, there was a young woman in her teen years who demonstrated how it was to be a woman of faith, love and hope. She was deeply connected to the reality, sensibility and substance of her faith in God who had asked her to carry out a great responsibility to mankind, making the salvation history take its place. Who was that woman? She was none other than Mary. Her name speaks of so many things and her person is a perfect interpretation of a life of obedience to the will of the Father.
“The infinite wisdom of God met the inner needs of human nature by giving us the most Holy Mary…” — Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia
Definitely without having Mary with us and without her inner power and profound faith in and love for God, we remain in the slavery of sins. Through Mary’s YES, God became incarnate and He humbled Himself when He dwelt among us in order to free us from sin. Mary answered her vocation with much generosity, being much aware that her commitment would give her happiness in the midst of sorrow, peace in the depths of pains and sweetness of life in the bosom of sacrifice in the name of love.
Women of her time were challenged with the reality of their history – and Mary was no exception, but she faced everything and she listened, which made her unselfish in her YES to the plan of salvation. This challenge of faith continues to this present age, coupled with the diverse options of life. Young women are being exposed to a multitude of challenges between the culture of life and death such as materialism, worldly sophistication and consumerism. They are the ‘Marys’ of this era in which the world offers a lot of choices. These choices can give them an opportunity to not commit with much generosity and genuinely. This is the grave danger to the lives of so many beautiful souls. The Marys who would embrace life being a religious, as a single person or in creating a family as married ones, are at risk through the frail perceptions about life and its calling. In embracing these ways of life, there is only one person to whom they can turn and imitate, who is our life, our sweetness and our hope: Mary, the Mother of our Saviour.
Mary sets a criterion of a life that gives full trust to the Father. She is confident in the grace of God given to her pure soul. Through her sublime obedience, she was able to give life in a new horizon. She is the new Eve who helped restore what has been the original plan for mankind.
Each mystery of Mary’s journey with Jesus wasn’t easy. There were a lot of questions that she kept to herself, with so much faith. Sorrows overwhelmed her, seeing Jesus in the most difficult situations. The only thing she could do was to be reticent towards it and ponder everything in her heart. Despite her challenging circumstances, she showed us the sweetness of every tedious moment. Bitterness did not reign within her heart.
This virtue made Mary a powerful and strong woman for all ages. She has become the solid ground for those who never see the light of life anymore. She never failed to recognize that the plan was in accordance with what God wanted. Every fibre of her journey was a design for her to live her life in full surrender to God. In that way, she has helped us draw closer to God, letting love for Jesus spring up in our heart for our salvation.
“She enlightens our minds about the mysteries of faith, infuses humility and docility and lets us know and long for divine grace and God’s friendship.” — St. Annibale
Mary is a person beyond all our imagining. She is a Mother that gives life, sweetness and hope to all the Marys of today’s generation. Why be a Mary of this time? Because it is a life that must be patterned to that of Mary, the Mother of Jesus who lives a saintly life and deeply understands the love of God for each soul He has created. Invoking her at all times makes each of us truly an instrument in the building of God’s kingdom on this earth. It strengthens the way of living a Christian life by spreading the joy of charity, faith and hope through each respective Christian vocation. Age does not matter – what matters most is the life that is fully given in loving God and neighbour. But the challenge is in the hands of young women today and that challenge is to be like Mary, who is our life, our sweetness and our hope.
Sr. M. Glenda D. Galanido, fdz