Monday, 23 April 2018

WHAT GOD THINKS ABOUT WOMEN

YESTERDAY AT THE ORATORY IN LARNE WE DECIDED THAT WE WOULD HAVE A MASS TO CELEBRATE WOMEN.

I ASKED ONE OF OUR WOMEN MAUREEN - A WIFE AND MOTHER -  TO SPEAK ON THE THEME: "WHAT GOD THINKS OF WOMEN".
JESUS AND MARY MAGDALA



By: Maureen Woods. The Oratory. Larne.

When Pat asked me to talk about what God thinks of women initially I thought where do I start? But once I gave it some thought I wondered where do I stop? I realized that we could spend a week and not even skim the surface. I could not even begin to cover all that God thinks about women so I’m just going to talk about a few of the thoughts I have had during the week. The bible is full of stories of what God thinks of women, but even more so what he thinks of us women is shown by his presence and influence in our lives on a daily basis. This shows what he thinks of us in meaningful and practical ways. In the world today there are many inequalities and women in some places are still regarded and treated as second-class citizens. God has shown that he regards women highly and with great respect.




God thinks women are capable and can be relied upon to do what is needed, he thinks we have a can-do attitude and although maybe initially reluctant we will step up to the mark and do what is required. This is clearly evidenced in choosing a 16-year-old girl to give birth to his son. Today in the 21st century that would be a big that would be a big ask, how much more so all those years ago when the world’s view of women was much more conservative. But Mary did step up and although we probably don’t think about it much women today all step up each and every day and do their best to do the right thing. All the daily things we do and say have an impact on others, be it a smile or hello to the stranger me meet, the time we make available out of our busy lives to enrich the lives of others such as making that telephone call or visit or Carole baking her lovely cakes and buns week in week out.




I think the story of Mary also shows that God thinks women are special and can be trusted to carry out vital roles. He values women respects women and hold women in high esteem. It is hard to comprehend a more crucial job than Mary’s of giving birth to his son. Likewise, I think the fact that women have been given the privilege of carrying a baby for nine months and be one of the key people in that child’s life shows that God thinks women are special and the trust that he has in us to look after his children on earth. As all mothers know the first time we hand over our children into someone else’s care is a moment we never forget, God places his children on earth into our care, how special and trusted we must be by God to bear children and then have the honour of having such a significant place in their lives.

Again the story of Mary shows that God thinks women are resilient and courageous. She was there at the start his life, at Calvary and his Resurrection. Although women were regarded as unreliable witnesses in court, Jesus gave women the honour of being the first to witness the Resurrection. This again highlights that God thinks women are special and holds us in high regards, like us I imagine that Jesus would have wanted special people at his happiest and saddest occasions. The courage Mary must have had to bear seeing her son crucified is hard to get one’s head around. But she showed great courage and resilience and likewise so do we. God thinks women are strong and have the endurance to deal with what comes our way. We all have our mountains to climb, sometimes it’s not a big challenge, it’s maybe a gentle slope or one we’ve climbed before and are able to so with ease. But sometimes it can feel like we’re facing Everest, depending on the circumstances getting out of bed and facing the day can in itself be the greatest of challenges but we have all persevered in the most testing of situations and have arrived at the peak eventually albeit a little battered and bruised sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, sometimes both. Many women I know do not give themselves enough credit for the courage and resilience they have, they listen to that inner voice that questions their abilities and erodes their confidence. I think God would want us to acknowledge that most of the time we try to do our best, we are not perfect but we try to learn from our experiences and do even better next time. God wants us to remember what we are worth, he will never forget our worth. He would want us to give ourselves a pat on the back, instead of beating ourselves up. We have all had our share of burdens and will continue to do so, we just need to remember that God does not just think that women are strong, he knows that we have the endurance to deal with what comes our way, we just need to own that thought too.




Contrary to the thinking of the time God did not think women were inferior, he treated women with equality. This is shown in many of the bible stories, such as in (Luke 10:38-42) the story of Martha and Mary shows Jesus’ acceptance of Mary’s wish to learn. She sat at his feet while Martha carried out the role of providing hospitality. The way Jesus responded to women was in an inclusive way. Yet today in many churches many women feel invisible and unheard. Thankfully that is not the case at the Oratory, we are all encouraged to voice our opinions, so thank you, Pat, for the opportunity to speak today.

I’ve mentioned just a few key things that I feel that God thinks about women, it’s only the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more. God thinks women are unique, special, courageous, resilient, trusted, worthy, capable individuals. We are unique, exceptional people and should value ourselves as God does.

 I’d like to finish with a poem which I feel helps to sum up what God thinks of women. It’s called Women of Courage and was written by Kathy L. Goings:



Women of courage, women of strength,
Women of faith and devotion.
Mothers of children with spirits so strong
Who may have unbridled imaginations.
Women with losses, women who love,
Whose strength and whose courage comes from above,
Whether they're mothers; or loving Aunties,
It's plain to see Jesus’ love shines through them.
Women I work with, women I know,
Whether at church, or other places I go.
Women whose spirits are battered by pain,
But Christ lifts them up, and they go on again.

They are women, women of courage
They are Christians, towers of strength.
They are women who put Jesus first in life
Show’ring His love on all those they greet. 




55 comments:

  1. Maureen spoke with sincerity. Hardly a great orator as there is a lot of repetition of the obvious which eventually became a little tedious but maybe she didn't have time to do some much-needed pruning and editing. I was surprised that she didn't mention some of the most eminent female visionaries, saints and doctorate of the Church figures who were specially chosen by God to guide and show the way forward in historical times of crisis etc
    But Maureen said what she could and I enjoyed it on her terms..

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    1. The important thing was that a woman spoke at Mass about God and women.

      Modern studies are showing that women played a central leadership role in the early church.

      We must bring all of that back.

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    2. "God the midwife of our race
      Chose women to be means of grace."

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  2. The contibution of women to the institutional Roman Catholic Church has been minimal, not because women had little to contribute, but because of mysoginistic tradition that kept them at arms length. For heaven's sake. it wasn't even until late in the 20th century that this tradition relaxed sufficiently, after a lot of cafuffling and cod theological debate, to permit female altar servers!

    Patriarchy and mysogyny go hand in hand in this institution and are its twin evils.😆

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    1. It's handy when what has to be scrolled past can be viewed on one length of screen. Please continue to adhere.

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    2. @11.54 Totally agree, it makes life so much easier scrolling through when I see the trolls name. I’m glad many have realised not to respond to said troll or give him any attention. Starve the troll of the oxygen of publicity.

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    3. As soon as I see the demonic looking laughter emoji, I know it’s the troll and I just skip over :-)

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    4. Magna how can you say the roll of women within the church was minimal. Think of what the likes of catherine mcauley, Nano Nagle and many other women have done as educators and in medicine down the years, not to mention those that have come after them, continuing what they started. Yes there might be some flaws in what they done or were allowed to do, but the good they done way outways these faults.

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    5. Its sad to think it but perhaps the cod-theology was to work the church back out of a human based rule... the reality that the church was knowingly covering up abuse, but altar girls could get pregnant so they needed to be kept safely from certain priests.

      I do not condone the abuse, but I do think that girls and women were kept away from priests because of celibacy - not because of theology.

      I welcome women in the church. I welcome good priests - of any gender

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    6. 18:12, I was referring to the institutional Church in terms of its governance and structure. Women are still in no way directly involved in magisterial teaching, which unpardonably excludes half the Church from any input (including the inspirational impulses of the Spirit among them). I know that the Church is not a democracy, but nowhere in the Gospel does Jesus restrict the Spirit to the Twelve and their successors.

      The institutional Church is heavily patriarchal. This is neither a good nor healthy thing.

      I am not denying the contributions of those wonen you mentioned, but Church patriarchs did keep them at arms length kerygmatically and doctrinally, in the fatuous belief that the Spirit spoke only through men. This is bad theology, and it comes from a highly traditiobal and skewed reading of the New Testament. This obvious and mysogynistic insult has been left unchallenged for far too long.

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    7. Presumably you have the same gripe about the Orthodox, Islam, Orthodox Jews and the Free Presbyterians?

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    8. 18:35, I'm afraid the available evidence, going back to the early centuries of the Church, suggests that priests were prone to abuse boys more than girls. And this was before celibacy was imposed in the 11th century. However, boys exclusively continued to act as altar servers.

      The customary reason given for excluding girls was that they could not be representative of the Last Supper, since only Jesus and the Apostles were present here. This was nonsensical on two levels: first, the entire congregation at Mass, comprising both males AND females, were commemorating the Last Supper, so excluding girls as altar servers on that ground was discriminatory and mysoginistic; second, it is reading the Gospel in a highly selective and partisan way to conclude, definitively, that no women were present at the Last Supper.

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    9. 19:09, I hope you have, too.

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    10. @Magna Carta 19.12
      Well said, and let us not forget it was men who chose which of the many gospels were the 4 authentic ones and who hid most of the others

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  3. Women should be seen and not heard!!!

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    1. 09:46, are you the infamous Canon Matt Hep. Sounds like something the old trotter would have said

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    2. You're Paul the self-styled 'Apostle', aren't you, 09:46.

      Tell me, you old Pharisee, do you tell Mary, the Queen of Heaven, to be silent! You know: as you did women in the early church?

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    3. women make lovely cups of tea ;)

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    4. Isn’t it a cause of amazement and wonder, that an internet troll knows far more, is much wiser and smarter, than St Paul, even though St Paul was inspired by God the Holy Ghost and what he has written is the very Word of the Living God, believed by all Christians?

      How’s that for a pridefulness of satanic proportions?

      Poor delusional troll. God have mercy on your soul.

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    5. 13:37, was Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit when he bade women to be quiet in church?

      Was he inspired by the HS when he encouraged the early church to prepare for the imminence of the Parousia? (Psst! It still hasn't happened.😆)

      Was he inspired by the HS when he drew up a salvation hit-list of people HE judged unworthy of the Kingdom? (Remember Jesus instructed his followers to judge the state of no one's soul.)

      Was Paul inspired when he declared that gay people were going to Hell?

      Was he inspired when he declared that 'drunkards' (which would include alcoholics) would go to Hell, too?

      I could say more about this deeply fallible man, but I haven't the time.

      You're one of those dreamers who believes that all of Scripture is inspired by God, aren't you?

      Idiot.😆

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    6. Clearly 09.46 has never heard his woman orgasm. Shame on you.

      Somewhat less tongue in cheek though is the truth that women are often the strength behind the strongest men. They are counsellors, motivators, comforters, consciences and carers. Their advise is always welcome on the ears. If you have a woman in your life let it not be as a silent partner.

      Also, apologies to any lady offended by my ill-humoured opening but I could not resist.

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    7. @18:17 - choice between a vicious internet troll with selective reading and a smattering of knowledge - and St Paul revered for 2000 years?? Hmmmm. Lol

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    8. 21:59, you want 'vicious', duckie? Read Paul the self-styled 'Apostle' more closely. (That is, if you can read.😆)

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    9. I have read him very very closely for all my life - God’s holy and inspired Word. Be off with you troll!

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  4. Lovely piece by Maureen, sorry I missed it. P.

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  5. Maureen Spoke very well! Was a very refreshing Mass indeed!

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  6. Is Maureen a Protestant by any chance? I just thought she didn’t speak particularly from a Catholic point of view.

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    1. No, Maureen was brought up Catholic.

      Was that not reflected in her talk of Mary?

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    2. No, no it wasn't, sadly.

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    3. 10:30, must there be 'a Catholic point of view'? Why not just from the truth?

      Religion...and the sectarian mindsets it can produce.😕

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    4. Magna - 18.21: Yes, indeed, religion can produce a lot of sectarian mindsets. Undoubtedly. But many of us wonder what causes you to be such a nasty, extreme and obnoxious "sectarian" - you whose mindset is lacking in emotional intelligence empathy or humanity in the horrendous, unacceptable abuse you throw at all before you. Perhaps you might elucidate the reasons for your sectarianism!

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    5. So how then Mag do we account for your own vicious and hateful mindset?

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    6. 21:42, what in Hades is 'emotional intelligence'?😆

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    7. 21:42 & 21:56, Scream!😆 Haven't you been following my posts? Course you have! Who, with an intelligent mind, wouldn't?

      You, therefore, know from whence my anger springs.😆😆

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    8. From whence your “anger springs”, troll @22:48?
      From the deep well of your own bitter poison and vicious spite.

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    9. 22.48: You Trollope Magna! You poisonous, infantile fool. Grow up. Stay under your rock.

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  7. One has to wonder and why the first poster feels the need to be so patronising. Why draw attention to Maureen’s, so called, limitations as an orator and then offer the underhand comment of ,and I quote, ‘But Maureen said what she could and I enjoyed it on her terms..’ That’s mighty magnanimous of you.

    It’s this kind of thinking that keeps women in the church pinned down.

    And not every man and woman sitting in church are aware of the eminent female visionaries of the church. This lack of knowledge does not preclude them from having great faith and from being able to share their thoughts within a faith community.

    One of the beautiful things about The Oratory is that it allows all those who attend it to share their insights of their ‘faith journey’ and as you would expect, this is often a moving and humbling experience. Maureen speaks from the heart and from what she knows. Her gift might not be of oration, but she has the gifts, of great faith, openness and insight.
    Well done, Maureen.

    Fr Paul.

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  8. Excellent piece Pat and lovely words Maureen.
    I was beginning to wonder if the Oratory existed at all as we heard to little about it and hopefully we will hear more about it in the future.

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  9. Thanks Maureen, I enjoyed reading that.

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  10. Hi Pat. Maybe I am old fashioned but i like to read what appears on your blog on my laptop more than on my phone. When I read off my laptop when you copy and paste items they look awful and often makes me not want to read what is said. I know there is ways of making it look more professional as i have my own blog using blogspot. Maybe you might take some time to familiarise yourself on how to make things look better and use a wider margin to make pictures look a little better.

    Keep up what you are at, even if all of your readers dont agree with what you say or share on the blog.

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  11. Got bored after a few of...god thinks.
    God knows, he doesn’t have to think.

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  12. Some people seem bored without the bit of scandal

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    1. Do you blame them?

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    2. 22.14 Yes I do It reflects a mentality that is all about the buzz around the news rather than the Christian message.

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  13. What a boring existece God must have if he need not think. Who says he doesn't think?

    If Jesus was truly human, then he must have pondered now and then. And there is gospel evidence that he did. (In Gethsemane, for instance)

    Jesus is eternally human as well as eternally divine. I'm sure he still enjoys stretching his mind by pondering, as do all humans. And, of course, his conclusions are always perfect.

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    1. The lady was talking about God, not his son. Magna

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    2. Not true Sean, I’m just a thinking woman.

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    3. But, 21:59, his son IS God.

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  14. I thought the first poster at 00.58
    made some sincere and fair comments. I re-read Maureen's piece and I think the poster was OK in what he/she said. They enjoyed the speech and I did too and it takes courage to get up there and speak. We've all had to learn from constructive suggestions at times ... No harm done.

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  15. "... the Monstrous Regiment of Women." (John Knox)

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  16. After seeing that video of those young girls from Bangor, I certainly now have changed my opinion about women and I'm sure glad they are not allowed to become priests otherwise the abuse crisis in the Church would have been much much worse

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    1. 23.38 Some nuns may have contributed to the abuse story

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  17. If you allow yourself to be invisible and unheard, then you are...man or woman.
    As a woman I’ve never felt myself thus.
    Maybe she just needs a good coaching session.

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