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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2014
(Part 31)

WOMEN EMPOWERED TO WITNESS

April 7, 2014
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.

Susanna 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.

Then 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.

Then 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.

Now 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.

Of 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.

Onward, women of God. You are empowered to witness.

* * *

 
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