God created woman in His own image, just as He did with man. It was a single image, though there is a clear distinction. “Male and female he created them,” says the book of Genesis. In the woman God put those parts of Himself which he drew from the deepest layers of His divine being: sensitivity, intuition, tenderness, the capacity to donate self in an unconditioned way without seeking advantage, fortitude and the wonder of a body able to lovingly receive and give life.
Yet the woman has always suffered due to a different mentality which woul atavistically place her on a plane of inferiority, submission and marginalization. But none of this was in God’s plans. So we must be honest and admit that it is merely a human product.
I know, we’re not saying anything new. For decades it has been the subject of debates and discussions. Yet, has anything really changed? Has all that has been written, said and discussed served to change the destiny of millions of women who still today live in conditions of slavery, exploitation and ignorance?
We don’t intend giving an answer here, each of us has a conscience, and statistics abound. There are various courageous organizations which denounce the plagues afflicting the feminine universe, starting with the vile market of prostitution which goes to swell the pockets of men of bad faith who exploit the good faith of many women who lack means, culture, and future and are robbed of their dignity, often trapped while oh so young and made to feel unworthy of a better destiny. There are so many minors! so many who despair! all deceived! and often kidnapped then sold – to satisfy the insatiable masculine egoism.
And what of the terrible mutilation inflicted on millions of African girls, impeding them from joyously participating in love in all its expressions – physical and emotional; making of her man’s exclusive possession!
And again: the patriarchal status in many countries or religions which is imposed as law, and woman are de- classed as inferiors, of little worth, and therefore unsuitable for public office or similar responsibilities. In many of these, women don’t even have the right to show their faces…
The list is long and sorrowful, but we’ll stop here. The 8th MARCH is the day dedicated to women, not only to celebrate the feminine genius and beauty, but a chance for the world to show its concern and interest in a scenario that throws sinister shadows on mankind for the better part of the year.
We don’t want to judge anyone. All we want to say is this: God had not thought of her in this way… We only need to look at the way Jesus – the God-with-us – had so much concern and esteem for women who took an active part in His life and mission; beginning from His Mother, the little woman from Nazareth, and Mary of Magdala, the woman who followed Him during the horror of His Passion and had the privilege of being the first to announce His resurrection. But there were many other women who accompanied the Lord and helped to make the public mission of the Messiah more fertile.
This glance at the Gospel would make us think that the Church, beloved bride of Christ, holds the same respect for those (consecrated and lay) women who make up the finest threads in the thick weavings of her fabric, but sadly this is not always so, even though her Pastor and our beloved Pope, has repeatedly and loudly praised the feminine genius as an indispensable element in the life of the world and the Church.
The fact is that a strong clerical and masculine vision often confines the woman to servile and secondary roles. But this misinterprets the Heart of God who instead looks upon the woman with tender love and admiration, thankful for her capacity to love even when she is not loved in return, and to generate even when others would want her sterile. Who knows why she is so “feared”? Perhaps because she is unable to remain silent before hypocrisy and deceit? Or perhaps because her innate sense of gratuity is so much in contrast with the widespread quest for power?
Obviously, much has been done over the past years, and numerous are the women which are given voice in the Church today with authority and approval. Yet, still much has to be done to restore to women that which has been subtracted from them over centuries and passed down through too many generations.
It isn’t difficult. All one needs to do is imitate God. For many years He has made Himself present in Medjugorje through a woman – His Mother. He trusts her and her capacity to be always and in any case Queen of Peace.
Sr. Stefania Consoli
“...be very careful if you make a woman
cry, because God counts her tears.
The woman came out of a man’s rib.
Not from his feet to be walked on.
Not from his head to be superior.
But from the side to be equal.
Under the arm to be protected,
and next to the heart to be
From the Hebrew Talmud
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