Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
At 6:30 p.m. the early winter sky has reached that fine edge between encroaching dark and fading light.
I enter the sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace Church and my eyes have to adjust to the dimmed lights as the only illumination comes from candles on the altar and their glowing reflection in the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament.
My friend, Dana, and I had come to join the Mary and Martha’s quarterly meeting which started with an hour of Adoration.
I took my seat in one of the pews, knelt, and surreptitiously glanced around the sanctuary. In the gloaming, I could see thirty other women kneeling like sentinels in silent prayer.
Over the course of the hour, we would remain in contemplative silence.
As I slipped in and out of my prayers and wandering thoughts, I considered how pleased God must be when he sees us gathered in the simple and divine act of Adoration.
But in fact, women are highly esteemed in God’s sight not matter where we are.
We only have to look at the life of Jesus Christ to understand how dearly he cherishes every woman.
In the Gospel of Saint John, a group of men bring a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus and demand that she be stoned, according to the law of Moses. Jesus replies, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8)
Included in his inner circle of friends were Mary and Martha. Both women were invited to sit and listen as he taught his disciples. (Luke 10) In Jesus’ day, it was unusual to include women in an educational setting with men.
After his resurrection, Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalen, not to one of his male disciples. This honor speaks volumes of his regard for her. (Mark 16)
As a young girl, Mary, who would become the Mother of God, was met by the angel Gabriel, who declared her highly favored. During the agony of his death on the cross, Jesus commands his disciple, “Here is your mother.” He demonstrates not only his love for this remarkable woman but also the honored place she would have throughout history.
The words we speak to women and about women can uplift or hurt; their impact can affect a woman’s future by how those words make her feel about herself.
Jesus Christ knew the importance of words. That is why the Gospel of Saint John describes him as the Word that spoke creation into existence.
And it is why Jesus used his words to uplift and heal the women in his life; both loved ones and complete strangers.
As always, I hope we will follow the wisdom and love offered by Jesus life and death and resurrection.
No matter what is said about you by others, Jesus says you are beautiful.
No matter what is said about your past, Jesus says it is forgotten and forgiven.
No matter what is said about your value, Jesus says you are priceless and worthy of love.
Psalm for Week Four of Nine of Reading the Psalms
These verses from Psalm 40 (NLT) underscore God’s love for each of us, his tender care for cares and worries.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
5 O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.
11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson is the author of A Map of Heaven and other books. You can reach her at http://www.facebook.com/suzanneelizabeths