Proverbs, Chapter 31, Verse 30
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Woman is the key to the salvation of the world. It is the miracle of God that the salvation of mankind was deposited in the care of the Virgin Mary and likewise in the physical sense the material world through the modern woman who is faithful to the precepts of the Lord. Such a woman knows the secret to raising children to be happy and successful is to do it in a home overflowing with love. A woman of faith truly knows:
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore, we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
A woman of Influence
“The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect, and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.” (Closing speeches Vatican Council II, 12/8/65).
Mother Mary is a perfect role model for all women, of course, but for women who work in particular. According to St. Louis de Montfort, Mary has principle virtues, which when practiced help to lead us to her Son and create a home and world that celebrates the greatness of the Lord.
- Ardent Charity: How can you demonstrate great love at work? This is not the same love as a spousal love, of course. How do you approach your employees? Your supervisors? Your clients? Your customers? Is your approach focused on valuing a relationship more than a material good? Are you able to articulate information and ideas in a mutually respectful way?
- Heroic Patience: Do you really listen at work? Are you able to rise above a situation in order to assist others as they learn new tasks? Do you hold your temper or judgment about your supervisor when you disagree with them? Are you willing in your attitude to seek understanding of others, even when it is difficult?
- Divine Wisdom: Recalling your baptism, and especially your confirmation, do you recall and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in your work decisions? Do you pray for guidance? Do you seek Biblical and Church tradition answers and solutions? Do you show gratitude to God when you recognize divine wisdom at work?
- Angelic Sweetness: Is your approach nurturing and relational? Do you avoid calumniation of fellow co-workers and supervisors? Even when difficult, do you respond to others at work by extending grace and mercy?
- Profound Humility: Are you focused on others more than yourself? Do you recognize the work of the team, or are you taking credit for the work? Do you care who gets the credit? Does this impact the way you treat others?
Mary’s virtues bring us to a very feminine leadership style: one steeped in relationship building, not shying away from truth or faith, but approaching others in grace. When practiced at work, these virtues of Our Lady can lead us to Holiness and a fulfilled leadership at work.
Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Today the liturgy celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” In fact, this basilica was the first to be built after Emperor Constantine’s edict, in 313, granted Christians freedom to practice their religion. The emperor himself gave Pope Miltiades the ancient palace of the Laterani family, and the basilica, the baptistery, and the patriarchate, that is, the Bishop of Rome’s residence — where the Popes lived until the Avignon period — were all built there. The basilica’s dedication was celebrated by Pope Sylvester around 324 and was named Most Holy Savior; only after the 6th century were the names of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist added, and now is typically denominated by these latter. Initially the observance of this feast was confined to the city of Rome; then, beginning in 1565, it was extended to all the Churches of the Roman rite. The honoring of this sacred edifice was a way of expressing love and veneration for the Roman Church, which, as St. Ignatius of Antioch says, “presides in charity” over the whole Catholic communion (Letter to the Romans, 1:1). On this solemnity the Word of God recalls an essential truth: the temple of stones is a symbol of the living Church, the Christian community, which in their letters the Apostles Peter and Paul already understood as a “spiritual edifice,” built by God with “living stones,” namely, Christians themselves, upon the one foundation of Jesus Christ, who is called the “cornerstone” (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Ephesians 2:20-22). “Brothers, you are God’s building,” St. Paul wrote, and added: “holy is God’s temple, which you are” (1 Corinthians 3:9c, 17). The beauty and harmony of the churches, destined to give praise to God, also draws us human beings, limited and sinful, to convert to form a “cosmos,” a well-ordered structure, in intimate communion with Jesus, who is the true Saint of saints. This happens in a culminating way in the Eucharistic liturgy, in which the “ecclesia,” that is, the community of the baptized, come together in a unified way to listen to the Word of God and nourish themselves with the Body and Blood of Christ. From these two tables the Church of living stones is built up in truth and charity and is internally formed by the Holy Spirit transforming herself into what she receives, conforming herself more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ. She herself, if she lives in sincere and fraternal unity, in this way becomes the spiritual sacrifice pleasing to God. Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24). But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God. Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.— Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, November 9, 2008