Bárbara de Franceschi, Spain •
This morning, looking at you, Mary, I gave thanks for every woman. For all that you are, for your delicate purity, your capacity to love each and everyone, your gentle gaze and your arms holding the Child and in Him each one of us. —
Today, surely, all women: the women of that time, wrapped in that long garment, who at home made their bread every day, waiting for their children who brought fresh fish that they themselves caught with their nets, who taught them to praise God and to wait for the Messiah, who clapped their hands and raised their arms, who lived simply and gathered figs and dates to decorate their lunches and their rough tables, which still smelled of freshly cut wood and the effort of the men who built them with their skills.
The women of today, strong and determined, who have prepared themselves to exercise a dignified profession, like any other man. Who have made a place for themselves in today’s society, who love their femininity and show it off. Who have also learned to love, to start a family, to have children, to accompany their husbands in the tough competition of the world of work, which they themselves know from experience.
Women who have given birth with the strength of their bodies and the strength of their love, who have nursed them until they were able and needed to return to their work. Work outside and inside the home: those who leave on time so as not to miss the office, those who leave the house and the food ready for the return from school, those who hurry home to be with their children in the evenings and do their daily homework with them, those who make sure that dinner is healthy without too much fat and sugar.
Those women who are willing to give up everything to take care of a sick child, her husband, her elderly father. Those who gladly give up a nice dress so that their children can go to a good school. Those who rejoice in their husbands’ successes more than in their own. Those who are not afraid to be who they are and to leave a mark of generosity, love, beauty, culture and good sense on their loved ones.
But also, Mary, you carry in your arms people who are very wounded and in need of your love: women who have lost their sense of identity, women who do not know how or cannot love themselves because they feel different and unworthy. Those who have been born into abuse and lovelessness. Those who have grown up in physical or spiritual poverty. Those who are forced to work in exploitative jobs. Those who leave their children alone because they have no choice. Those who prostitute themselves to feed them. Those who are abandoned. Those who get pregnant by mistake. Those who feel alone without knowing where to go or who to turn to. And many more. You love them, Mother.
And being a woman, Mary, and holding in your arms every woman with whom you laugh and cry, you also hold the men: those who gave their lives for their own, the divine and the human. Those who get up every day so that their children grow up healthy, those who embrace their wives to give them strength and love, those who admire them and encourage them to achieve their full potential, those who understand that the home is made by all and participate in the care of the house and family. Those who teach their children to love nature, to be more austere, to know the goodness of effort and to work their will. Those who understand responsibility.
Women in doubt
And you also support those others who do not recognise themselves as such. Who cannot appreciate what nature gives them. Those who are wounded by what life has failed to give them, by loneliness, abandonment, abuse, lack of love. Those who become abusive and end up killing others. Those who let themselves be carried away by their vices, pornography, drinking, excesses, extreme worship of the body and pleasures, gambling… So many things that take them away from themselves, from the woman, from you and from your Son.
Mary, woman of excellence, help us to be. Love us and lead us to what we are truly meant to be as women and men.
Written on the morning of March 8th, International Women’s Day, directly on WhatsApp coming out of Mass.
Original: Spanish 2023-03-08. Translated by: María Aragón, Monterrey, México