We read this article last night in the refectory. It compliments the above article beautifully.

God the Father, in His eternal plan of salvation,chose the virgin womb of a woman so that the Word might begin His journey in the world.

Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, finds only one reason for God’s action: He is a God madly in love with His creature! He contemplates its beauty eternally in the countenance of his only begotten Son and wants to save and set it free from the power of the evil one. Mary is the creature that makes this salvation project of the Father possible.

"He waited at the door of your will untilyou opened it, because He wanted to comewithin you. He would never have entered, if you had not opened the door by saying, 'Here is the maid of the Lord, be it done unto me accordingto your word'. It was the eternal Deity that knocked, O Mary,at your door, but if you had not opened the door of your will, God would not have incarnated himself in you". (Catherine of Siena, Prayer XI).

The Word said, "Mary," and Mary, with her YES, became a bearer and giver of mercy.

There is a mysterious and very strict bond between the Word and woman.

This is the experience of many consecrated women who, called by name, could not resist the fascination of the Divine Word pronounced in their life; women who, with the solicitude of Mary, run along paths of multiple human stories, carrying the Word in their "womb" and offering Him to those who hunger and thirst for the truth, to each and everyone, even to those who do not know that they are looking for Him. They are women who are happy and aware of putting their energies at disposal so that hope, love, dignity, tenderness and also beauty may inhabit every human heart.

In an orphan society like our own, that clings to itself, the consecrated woman become a living exegesis of the Word, that goes on taking flesh in the concreteness of their surrendered and itinerant life, studded with good works, totally dedicated, sometimes up to martyrdom.

They are so for each and everyone, also for those who do not recognise them, or towards whom it is difficult and dangerous to go, those towards whom often we avoid to go. They reach the most hidden aspects of the human existence, spaces or situations where homilies cannot be pronounced,where one can shout only with the power of a silence that becomes presence and accompanies action and service or a caress that takes care of others.

There is a multitude of consecrated/religious women, indefatigable witnesses, dispensers of the Word of a God who is Father and mother.They live among school benches, in the prisons, among beds of hospitals and along the streets near drugs addicted persons, sufferers of AIDS, women exploited by prostitution, near the aged and abused children, near destroyed or roofless families, near unemployed youths, patients of all kinds, consoling all of them with their tender presence in every corner of the earth.

This multitude of women, indefatigable dispensers of the Word with motherly heart and hands, reveals the countenance of Mother Church; they are her fecund womb, a space where God can meet man and man can meet his God.

May this motherly countenance and heart, reflex of a passionate heart that seeks its children, be efficaciously expressed in the daily words of the Church herself.

After all, has the woman not been the instrument of the greatest event in human history on earth: the event of God himself who becomes man? (Mulieris dignitatem, 31).

Sr. M. Viviana Ballarin o.p.

Superior General of the Dominican
Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena

Original in Italian
From the November issue of IDI (The International bulletin of the Domincian Order)

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