Pope Francis Missionary Intention for March
"That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always." Let us pray.
The Church is at times perceived to be less than appreciative of women. While some members of the Church may indeed exhibit attitudes and forms of behaviour that are surely discouraging to women, the Church in general honours women and the essential contribution they make to Church life.
It has been suggested that the modern world strives to ignore the unique qualities and gifts of women, saying that equality is based not on their being made in the image of God but on their becoming like men! Dr. Karl Stern addressed this in his 1965 book "The Flight from Woman." Stern was a Jewish psychiatrist who fled Nazi Germany in 1936 and emmigrated to Canada where he became Catholic. His thesis is that the Age of Reason has led to the de-feminization and de-humanization of society which rejects intuitive wisdom and "womanly values."
Pope Francis asks us to pray that the Church will recognize the unique contribution of women and help society do so as well. In The Joy of the Gospel he wrote: "The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition, and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess. I think, for example, of the special concern which women show to others, which finds a particular, even if not exclusive, expression in motherhood."
This echoes Pope John Paul II who wrote: "Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts." Women, more than men, are nurturers. And in a world burdened by a culture of death, we need the unique gifts of women more than ever.
Luke 10: 38-42 Martha and Mary care for Jesus in different ways.
Pope Francis General Intention for March
"That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person." Let us pray.
Even today there are those who think that science and religion are in conflict. Yet though there has been conflict in the past, some of the world's most significant scientists have been priests: the Franciscan Fr. Francis Bacon is known as "the father of the modern scientific method", while Fr. Nicholas Copernicus confirmed the theory that the earth revolved around the sun and the Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel was the founder of the study of modern genetics. In 1933 Jesuit Fr Georges Lemaitre introduced the "Big Bang" theory about the expanding universe which he called the "hypothesis of the primeval atom" or the "Cosmic Egg" and more than 40 lunar craters are named after Jesuit astronomers.
Science and the Church both seek the truth. However, where science seeks the 'what' and the 'how' of things, religion seeks the 'why'. The 'why' is important because it ultimately directs how we use knowledge gained from science. When science and the technology are not guided by the higher truths about the significance and dignity of the human person, they run the risk of bringing no true benefit to humanity, our world or, indeed, the universe.
Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that when humanity acts without wisdom, trying to take the place of God, it ends up destroying creation. We are co-creators, working with God to care for creation according to the Creator's plan. Pope Francis pointed to his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, saying, "His love for the truth is not limited to theology and philosophy, but extends to science. His love for science spills over into regard for scientists."
Thus we pray that researchers may always seek the entire truth and work for the overall well-being of all people.
Psalm 19 The heavens declare the glory of God.
Prayer Intention of the Institute for March
"That Saint Joseph may stir up in the hearts of many young people the desire to place their lives at the service of the Gospel. Lord hear us."
Pope Francis has recognized Oscar Arnulfo Romero as a martyr. The Archbishop of San Salvador was killed "in hatred of the Faith". "Let my blood be a seed of freedom".
Do˝a Maria Jose is in the San Salvador Cathedral crypt where Monsignor Oscar Romero is buried. On one side of the crypt there is a big picture of the Archbishop with a sign that says "Saint Romero of the Americas, our Pastor and martyr". The woman smiles, she has just heard the news about Romero's beatification process, and says: "Monsignor Romero is a particular Saint. He was canonized by the people first, and then by the Church of Rome. We people of the Americas were the first to sanctify Monsignor Romero."
In London, many people stop to look at the statue of a smiling Romero which is in the fašade above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, alongside another nine statues of 20th-century martyrs. The United Nations holds a special day, each year on March 24, the anniversary of Romero's assassination to promote a human rights issues. This day is called the "International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. Finally, in Rome, 35 years after the Archbishop' s death - he was killed on 24 March 1980 - one commission of theologians and the Cardinals Commission for the Causes of Saints, unanimously recognized Oscar Romero's martyrdom, killed "in hatred of the Faith". On 3 February, Pope Francis approved the decree announcing Oscar Romero as martyr, paving the way to his beatification.
Prayer of the Month
Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding.
Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance.
Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.
Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.
Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, OP (patron of scholars)