God our loving Father, today I offer this prayer and praise to all the women of the world - to all mothers who brought us to life and nurtured us in your love and kindness, for all women who make life go on and prosper, even easier and comfortable for us all, for women who toil and labor everywhere but always abused or disadvantaged, misunderstood and mistreated, worst, forgotten and neglected.
Like the mother of those seven sons in our first reading today, I pray for all women, praising and thanking them for their "womanly heart with manly courage".
It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king, to force them to eat pork in violation of God’s law. Most admirable and worthy of everlasting remembrance was the mother, who saw her seven sons perish in a single day, yet bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord. Filled with noble spirit that stirred her womanly heart with manly courage, she exhorted each of them in the language of their ancestors with these words: “I do not know how you came into existence in my womb; it was not I who gave you the breath of life, nor was it I who set in order the elements of which of you is composed. Therefore, since it is the Creator of the universe who shapes each man’s beginning, as he brings about the origin of everything, he, in his mercy, will give you back both breath and life, because you now disregard yourselves for the sake of his law.”
2 Maccabees 7:1,20-23
What is a "womanly heart", Lord? Like you when you presented yourself like a mother in Isaiah 49:15 who cannot ever forget her child, we thank you for the gift of fidelity and faith of every woman specially your many noble causes, first of which are love and life; I pray for all women, single and married, for deeper faith amid the heavy burdens they have to carry on their shoulders both at home and at work; not to forget too are the women who taught us to pray, those who made us experience your reality as God with their patience, understanding, and forgiveness.
What is "manly courage", Lord? Like your Son Jesus Christ who had come to the world to save us and make you known to us, it is most wonderful how the Blessed Mother Mary's heart was pierced with sword when full of courage, she stood by him at the Cross. I pray, dear God, for so many women today into so many fights, sometimes left alone by themselves with just faith and courage in their hearts that someday your truth and justice would prevail. In a most special way, I pray for all women battling cancer and other sickness these days: grant them healing in body, mind, heart, and soul.
Most of all, dearest God, I pray for all women in their senior years: grant them grace and serenity in facing eternity, fill their hearts with joy and gratitude for lives well spent in you, specially those like the servants in the gospel who have invested and made their "talents" grow in loving service to you.
And lastly but not the least, I pray for all the women who have gone ahead of us, our beloved ones. Grant them eternal rest in you, O Lord, and may your perpetual light shine upon them always. Amen.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us!