Yesterday, March 8, was International Women’s Day 2017. Given the current political climate on women’s issues, it may be too hot a topic for me to reveal my thoughts on this today. But, My Thursday Thoughts are just that, and that is what I am thinking about today. So here we go.
Many women have touched my life, as they have yours, I imagine. I can name my mother. I can name my wife. I can name my daughters. I can name the Blessed Mother Mary. I can name my sisters. I can name my teachers. I can name many professional women. I can name women who have been canonized saints in the Catholic Church. I can name my aunts and nieces. I can name wives and daughters of friends. And I can name women in various lots in life with whom I have come into contact. There are women who have the same or similar worldview as me. And there are women that have a different worldview compared to me.
Most everyone would probably heap high praise on their mother and I am no exception. My father died in a farming accident when I was ten years old. I was the youngest of five children, four of whom were still living at home, two in their teenage years, when the accident happened. One brother living at home was a 21-year-old man who was mentally retarded. Given these circumstances, my mother faced many great challenges during those eight years between the sudden death of her husband and father of her children until I left the farm to go to college. But, I think I turned out pretty well as did my brothers and sisters. So, please understand me if I say that she was someone very special.
Respecting their privacy, I will not say too much about my wife and daughters. What I will say is that I love them dearly and admire them greatly for who they are, especially with regard to their professional careers and their strong and deep affection for the Catholic faith. God has indeed blessed me in this regard.
Speaking of the Catholic faith, there are those who seem to despise Christ’s Church due to what they perceive as an antiquated stance on women as priests and women at other levels of Church governance. And this is one point where my worldview is different. There is no other religion of which I am aware that has elevated women to the level that the Catholic Church has. I’m speaking of the Blessed Mother Mary. Next to Jesus Himself, there is no man who has reached the level of honor and praise that she has, either inside or outside the Catholic faith. Some would even say that Catholics worship Mary, which, of course, is false. But that opinion does reveal the position which she holds in the minds of many people. The problem may be that she is the symbol of motherhood, which today is a symbol that some women do not want to be. These are women who tend to support the killing of unwanted pre-born children (half of whom are the women of the future) and not the high calling that is humbly referred to as “mom.”
The “Hail Mary” prayer says it all. In this prayer, we Catholics say what we believe regarding her. She is “full of grace.” The Lord is with her. She and the fruit of her womb are blessed. She is holy. She is the Mother of God. We ask her to pray for us sinners now and also when we die. Indeed … no other woman (or man, besides Jesus, for that matter) has reached this level of honor, praise, and respect. International Women’s Day should be her birthday!
Space does not permit me to express my opinions on such issues as equal pay for equal work or sexual harassment in the workplace, and others that deeply hurt women. Suffice it to say that I agree with those women on the liberal side of politics on these issues, of course. I only wish we could agree on more than we do.