SANTIAGO, Chile, MARCH 10, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Chilean bishops’ conference is acknowledging the particular role of women in his country in the aftermath of the Feb. 27 earthquake that affected millions.
Bishop Alejandro Goic of Rancagua stated this in a message on the occasion of International Women’s Day, celebrated Monday.
He expressed his closeness to Chilean women who are grieving “over the loss of a loved one or over the material goods that they obtained with so much effort through long years of honest work.”
The prelate expressed his wish for peace and hope for every woman of his country in this “hour of profound grief that our people are experiencing because of the recent seismic catastrophe that destroyed a great part of our loved and beloved homeland.”
He acknowledged that these women “give the best of themselves with renewed effort in each one of the roles they must assume, as mothers of families, daughters, wives, professionals, workers in different labor forces, students, consecrated women, committed lay women, seeking with hope and perseverance the building of a better world, more just and more equitable for all.”
“Today more than ever,” the bishop affirmed, “their courage and stoicism is being put to the test, in the face of so much human suffering and discomposure.”
“In the majority, Chilean women have profound faith, belief in a God who does not abandon them, who is infinitely merciful, and in him they sustain their lives and hope,” he added.
Bishop Goic recalled that throughout the history of the country one can find “so many examples of courageous women with profound Christian roots who contributed, at the risk of their own lives, their spirit and courage, to build the homeland they dreamed of.”
He continued, “Today this same spirit and this same hope placed in the Lord of Life must encourage every woman of our people to give, as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, her valuable contribution as worker, professional and consecrated person.”
The prelate encouraged each woman to assume “her role of mother that cannot be delegated at this table forged to received all her children with dignity, equity, respect and fraternity.
“Cemented in the values of the Gospel,” he continued, may each woman make the motto: “Woman, Chile Is Your Table,” a reality, and, “with the joint effort of everyone, we will be able once again to rebuild our beloved Chile.”
The bishop offered a prayer that “the Lord will teach us each day to value and respect each woman more and that she herself will also recognize in herself the gifts and graces that the Lord has placed in her.”
He expressed the hope that every woman will “dignify her being and, following the example of Mary Most Holy project into her surroundings and in society, especially in our homeland, the true image and likeness in which God himself created her.”
Bishop Goic sent added a message “for those who have the gift of faith,” praying that they would “remember that Christ is our fortress and hope.”
“For those women who do not have it,” he added, “but are persons of good will, generous and abnegated, may fraternity, friendship and love of neighbor help them find peace in their heart.”
The prelate recalled John Paul II’s words expressed in the apostolic letter “Mulieris Dignitatem:” “The present reflection is oriented to recognizing from within the ‘gift of God,’ what he, Creator and Redeemer, entrusts to woman, to every woman.
“In the Spirit of Christ she can discover the full meaning of her femininity and, in this way, dispose herself to the ‘gift of herself’ to others, and thus find herself.”
The bishop concluded by pointing out that “the Church desires to thank the Most Holy Trinity for the ‘mystery of woman’ and for every woman, for what constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity, for the ‘wonders of God,’ which in the history of humanity have been fulfilled in her and through her.”
“In a word,” he affirmed, “has not the greatest thing that exists in the history of man on earth, namely, the event that God himself became man, been done in and through her?”