Should women be em­bar­rassed or em­braced?

Lesotho Times - - Leader - So­fonea Shale

While Au­gust is marked by the African Union as the month to cel­e­brate achieve­ments of African women and in­spire them to take lead­er­ship in var­i­ous as­pects of life and the same month is a month of Mary Mother of God, women are con­sis­tently em­bar­rassed on their short­falls and con­spic­u­ously not em­braced for the good they do. The three read­ings of the previous Sun­day in the Catholic Church in the whole world am­pli­fied the sig­nif­i­cance of the ques­tion; should women be em­bar­rassed or em­braced? in­stead of ex­ploit­ing the po­si­tion of weak­ness of women, God em­braced them, raised them and used them to demon­strate his power.

The first read­ing was from Rev­e­la­tion 11:19; 12:1-6, 10. The scrip­ture is about a woman clothed with the sun and moon un­der her feet with crown hold­ing twelve stars and in labour pains ready to de­liver a son. On alert was a huge red seven headed dragon with ten horns with crowns on each to devour the child im­me­di­ately upon birth.

Read­ing these and other verses of the same chap­ters it would be seen that this beast had rep­u­ta­tion. it had not just dragged one third of stars of the sky and threw them on earth but also lost in the war that broke at heaven.

Two im­por­tant things hap­pened here, the child was snatch to the God’s throne and the woman fled to the dessert where God pre­pared her a place. The sec­ond read­ing 1 Corinthi­ans 15:20-26, 28 is about the power of God over all other au­thor­i­ties. it prom­ises that Christ will over­come all spir­i­tual pow­ers, au­thor­i­ties and han­dover the King­dom to his fa­ther. it says that when ev­ery­thing has been put un­der Christ, then Christ him­self will place him­self un­der God. The gospel ac­cord­ing to St luke 1:39-56 gives high­lights of Mary’s visit to El­iz­a­beth, con­firm­ing mir­a­cles and an ex­po­si­tion of se­crets of Mary’s faith. When she greeted el­iz­a­beth, the child in the el­iz­a­beth’s womb leapt with Joy.

In her mag­ni­fi­cat song Mary de­scribes her­self as the hum­ble and praises God for hav­ing cho­sen her as lowly ser­vant to the throne. She praises lord for bring­ing down the pow­er­ful from the thrones lift­ing up the lowly, fill­ing the hun­gry with good things send­ing the rich away empty and scat­ter­ing the proud with all their plans. When Mary was ear­lier ap­proached by an­gel Gabriel about God’s de­ci­sion to make her mother of Christ, she was told that el­iz­a­beth, who for pur­poses of re­pro­duc­tive life was with her hus­band Zacha- riah dead­wood, was six months preg­nant.

Though women have made sev­eral strides to de­velop their lives, or­gan­i­sa­tions, so­ci­eties and the world, they are al­ways pulled by leg ei­ther for their short­falls or for the weak­ness of other women else­where. Where a woman leads a church and preaches her pow­er­ful ser­mons would not go un­chal­lenged, some peo­ple mainly men would tell how un­qual­i­fied she is to preach sim­ply be­cause she is a woman.

Many women are ridiculed and em­bar­rassed for the short­falls of even at eden. Nor­mally when such ut­ter­ances are made, men jus­tify their pow­er­ful so­cial po­si­tion and self-pro­claimed right­eous­ness be­fore God.

how­ever lit­tle is ap­pre­ci­ated that in the sec­ond read­ing where it is said that just like all peo­ple die be­cause of their union with Adam they will be raised be­cause of their union with Christ, Mary as the mother of Christ demon­strates how God highly re­gards women re­gard­less of how lowly the world, per­haps pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­eties like le­sotho view them. if a woman man­ager makes a good de­ci­sion it goes un­recog­nised but when she makes sim­i­larly un­pop­u­lar de­ci­sion with her coun­ter­part, it will be mag­ni­fied for em­bar­rass­ment pur­poses.

Should women be em­bar­rassed or em­braced? When Zachariah, the hus­band of el­iz­a­beth was given the mes­sage by the an­gel that they will con­ceive, he re­fused. May be be­cause of his wide and re­spected wis­dom as the el­der of the church he found it too be­lit­tling to ac­cept such an il­log­i­cal mes­sage that her wife at that age would ever con­ceive. As a re­sult he lost speech, but look at Mary, while she also found it weird that she could con­ceive with­out know­ing a man, she ul­ti­mately sub­mit­ted to the will of God “i am the lord’s ser­vant, may it hap­pen to me as you have said”. From their hum­ble so­cial po­si­tion women can have rev­o­lu­tion­ary think­ing to recre­ate the world, change pol­i­tics, im­prove econ­omy and in­deed lead ex­ec­u­tive in le­sotho as they are al­ready lead­ing leg­is­la­ture and Ju­di­ciary.

The dragon which wanted to devour a baby was de­feated, the boy was born and he be­came great. in the sim­i­lar man­ner the peace­ful vi­sion, the pros­per­ous na­tion, the tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced so­ci­ety and all the as­pi­ra­tions that women in their own award and dif­fi­cult so­cial and po­lit­i­cal po­si­tions has op­por­tu­nity to ma­te­ri­alise. in pol­i­tics and else­where, women ideas are not em­braced but the dragon of the con­tem­po­rary times, the struc­turally vi­o­lent so­ci­ety awaits to devour women’s ideas for the new so­ci­ety to main sta­tus quo.

But just like the orig­i­nal dragon was de­feated, the pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety that shuts women out, that in­stils in women that they can­not lead po­lit­i­cal par­ties that have po­ten­tial to win govern­ment shall be de­feated. if they can­not read­ily lead and play ac­tive role as it may be de­sired, should they be ridiculed and em­bar­rassed for that or be em­braced for the good they do so that they be­come more con­fi­dent and stronger? Mary’s mag­ni­fa­cat song cel­e­brates re­wards for a woman who hum­bled her­self to the wish and will of God, it is an en­cour­age­ment to women who might be hum­bled by so­cial ar­chi­tec­ture to fol­low their in­ner feel­ing to serve their peo­ple in the way the an­gel of God tells them.

if you are in pol­i­tics and you truly be­lieve that vi­o­lent pol­i­tics should be turned into peace­ful en­counter and you are scared that the party struc­tures and so­cial per­cep­tions will bar you from reach­ing your po­ten­tial, re­fer to the mag­ni­fi­cat and strive for the good, do not let any­one stop you from re­al­is­ing your good vi­sion sim­ply be­cause you are woman.

As it is said in the mag­ni­fi­cat, Lord who de­thrones the pow­er­ful and put the lowly in the high po­si­tions will cer­tainly em­power those who in their so­cially rel­e­gated po­si­tions wish for peace and re­move from power those who use re­sources at their dis­posal to en­trench op­pres­sive ten­den­cies, pro­ce­dures and norms, and per­pet­u­ate laws and sys­tems that dis­turb peace, vi­o­late hu­man rights and make life mis­er­able for oth­ers.

The Per­haps dis­claimer that this should not by any stan­dard be taken to be a the­o­log­i­cal schol­ar­ship en­deav­our is nec­es­sary. it is a purely lay Chris­tian at­tempt and a dropout sem­i­nar­ian hum­ble ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the scripts. in­stead of em­bar­rass­ing women about weak­ness of their own mak­ing or as­cribed, em­brace the good they do. Rise women of Africa rise! Kha­bang Basali Ba Ba­sotho Kha­bang! Wathint’abafazi Wathint’im­bokodo! Halala bomme halala!

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