“Without women, there is no harmony in the world”. That was the message of Pope Francis in his recent homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.
Pope Francis was continuing his reflections on creation, the subject of the readings for the past few days, taken from the Book of Genesis. The Lord had formed every sort of animal, but the man did not find a companion in any of them; he was alone. Then the Lord took a rib and created woman, who the man recognised as “flesh of his flesh”. “But before seeing her”, the Pope said, “the man dreamed of her… In order to understand a woman, it is necessary first to dream of her”.
“Often when we speak about women”, the Pope said, we think of them in a ‘functionalist’ manner. Instead, we should see women as bearers of a richness that men do not possess, and women bring harmony to creation. “When women are not there, harmony is missing. We might say, but this is a society with a strong masculine attitude, and this is the case, no? The woman is missing. ‘Yes, yes: the woman is there to wash the dishes, to do things…’ No, no, no! The woman is there to bring harmony. Without women, there is no harmony. They are not equal, one is not superior to the other, no. It’s just that the man does not bring harmony. It’s her. It is she who brings that harmony that teaches us to caress, to love with tenderness; and who makes the world a beautiful place.”
In his homily, the Pope considered three moments in Creation: the solitude of the man, the dream, and the destiny of both the man and the woman: to be “one flesh”.
The Holy Father gave a concrete example. Once, during an audience, while he greeted the people, he asked a couple who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, “which of you has had the most patience?”. “They looked at me, they looked me in the eyes, I’ll never forget those eyes, eh? – then they turned and they told me, both together: ‘We are in love.’ After 60 years, this means ‘one flesh’ and this is what the woman brings: the capacity to love one another”.
Often we hear ‘No, it is necessary in this society, in this institution, that here there should be a woman because she does this, she does these things’. No, no, no, no! Functionality is not the purpose of women. It is true that women should do things, to do things as we all do. The purpose of women is to make harmony, and without women there is no harmony in the world. Exploiting people is a crime of ‘lèse-humanité’, it’s true. But exploiting a woman is even more serious: it is destroying the harmony that God has chosen to give to the world. It is to destroy.”
Exploiting a woman, then, is not only a crime, it amounts to “destroying harmony”, the Pope said, referring also to the day’s Gospel story of the Syrophoenician woman.
Pope Francis concluded his reflection with a personal note: “This is the great gift of God: He has given us woman. And in the Gospel, we have heard what a woman is capable of, eh? She is courageous, that one, eh? She went forward with courage. But there is more, so much more. A woman is harmony, is poetry, is beauty. Without her the world would not be so beautiful, it would not be harmonious. And I like to think – but this is a personal thing – that God created women so that we would all have a mother”.