THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2014
WOMEN EMPOWERED TO WITNESS
Today’s reading: Daniel 13:1-62
Today’s scripture about Susanna reminds me of the many
women who figured prominently in the history of God’s
people. They were empowered to witness.
is a “God-fearing woman” (v.2). Faced with the
choice of giving in to the lust of two elders of the people
or of being falsely accused of adultery, thereby meriting
the punishment of death, she said, “Yet it is better
for me not to do it and to fall into your power than to sin
before the Lord.” (v.23). Later when the two elders
were falsely testifying against her, “she looked up
to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.”
(v.35). Susanna was a holy woman of God.
She was a saint.
there is Esther. She was a young Jewish girl who became queen
to the Persian emperor Ahasuerus. The king’s wicked
minister Haman plots the destruction of all the Jews, but
Esther’s intervention thwarts his plot and saves her
people. Her uncle Mordecai had said to her, “Who knows--perhaps
it was for a time like this that you became queen?”
(Est 4:14b). Esther would go in the king’s presence
without being summoned, the penalty for which was death. She
said, “I will go to the king, contrary to the law. If
I perish, I perish!” (Est 4:16c). She was set to witness
to the king. She prayed to God about the king: “Put
in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion,
and turn his heart” (Est C:24a). Because of her witness,
Mordecai and God’s people were spared from being martyrs
to their Jewish faith.
there is Judith. She was a Jewish widow who saved Israel from
the Assyrian king Nebuchadnezzar, whose top general Holofernes
was wreaking havoc over their enemies. With the Israelites
disheartened because they were surrounded by the enemy, without
water and hope, ready to surrender, Judith steps into the
fray. She boldly goes into the enemy camp, beguiles Holofernes,
and cuts off his head while in a drunken stupor. Judith went
off on a commando mission, and became a greater
warrior than all the Israelite soldiers.
lest you think of some of these women as amazon types or modern-day
radical feminists, they were all beautiful and feminine. Susanna
was “very delicate and beautiful” (v.31). Esther
“was beautifully formed and lovely to behold.”
(Est 2:7b). Judith “was beautiful in appearance and
very lovely to behold.” (Jdt 8:7). Their beauty was
outside and inside. They were godly women who prayed intently
to God for deliverance and victory.
There have been many other such women throughout salvation
history, making use of their feminine genius in order to honor
and glorify God. One such was Joan of Arc, a holy
woman who witnessed to her faith and went
on mission to save France. She was a warrior
who led French forces into battle against the English, was
burned at the stake as a martyr (declared
by Pope Calixtus III), and who was canonized in 1920 by the
Church as a saint.
course the greatest of them all is Mama Mary. She is holy
Mary, mother of God. Her life of faith, from the annunciation
to the assumption, is a strong witness to
God’s favor and work. Her mission is
to be co-redemptrix, who together with her son crushes the
head of the serpent.
women of God. You are empowered to witness.