Pope Francis invites peoples of different faiths to come together and pray, the intention for the month of March being:

That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.

Getting started:

As I sit down comfortably I try to calm down. I thank God for the people who accompany me in my daily life. I take time to give thanks to God for each and everyone of them.

Short story:

Rachael and Anne were twin sisters. But Rachael was the favored one by her father and mother. She was blessed with intelligence, beauty and a flair for creativity. Long were the hours spent by mother to perfect Rachael’s musical talent. She was the pride of the family. For Anne it was a totally different world. She went through frequent asthma attacks and fared poorly in school. Through her quiet and reserved character she never attempted to dethrone Rachael from all the glory of her parents’ loving care. She suffered in silence. When Rachael and Anne’s father passed away at a very young age, her mother remarried. The second husband was a sure divine blessing for Anne. He recognized her internal beauty and humility, encouraged her and supported her till she became a renowned doctor. His affective care restored her dignity and wholeness.

Time to reflect:

Put yourself in Anne’s position, knowing that you are being deprived of attention and care because you do not stand out just as much as others.

Acknowledge your feelings and reflect on the deep pain experienced by so many women who are rejected, despised or side-lined because of appearance, color, race, education or culture.

Imagine that one of your closest friends feels rejected or undervalued. What advice are you going to give to your friend?

Let us pray:

Teach us O Lord to promote and defend the dignity of women particularly those who are victims of physical and emotional abuse.

I pause for a while and then make my own prayer. If I am with others, I invite them to share their own prayer too.

Inspiration:

I would rather be alone with dignity than in a relationship that requires me to sacrifice my self respect. (Mandy Hale)

Hands on:

Every member of the family may jot down three adjectives that describe the presence of the mother (or female carer) of the household: then these are shared together.

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