S. MARK iii.35.
"Whosoever shall do the Will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and My mother."
There are just two points which I want to put before you to-day. First, what you as Christian women ought to be. Secondly, how you can help each other to be so. On the first point I would ask you to remember the glory and dignity of womanhood. You get this dignity from Jesus Christ, who was born of a woman, and who said, "Whosoever shall do the Will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and My mother." Before Christ came into the world the condition of women was most miserable. They were degraded, despised, treated as slaves, and beasts of burden, as they are in heathen lands to this day. Since Christ came every good woman is loved, honoured, and respected. Jesus Christ set us the example. It was on a woman's breast that the Son of God found earthly refuge. It was to a woman who had been probably a great sinner, and out of whom He had cast seven devils, that Jesus gave the first news of His Resurrection. He told Mary Magdalene to announce the Gospel of the risen Jesus to His disciples. This, my sisters, is the true work of every Christian woman, to teach those around you, the children, the household, the busy men, the Gospel of the higher life, the Gospel of the Resurrection. And this is not to be done with the preacher's voice from the pulpit, but with the still, small voice of love and gentleness, and sweet temper, and purity; by that most powerful of all sermons -- a good example.
Next, I want you to remember the wonderful power which God has given you, and which you can use either for good or evil. God has, in one way, made men stronger than women. But every woman has influence, the power of leading others right or wrong. Do you know that from the time of Eve women have mainly made the history of the world? Men may have done the deeds, but women have led the men. "The hope of France is in our mothers," said a famous French Bishop, and every good man owes the best part of himself to his earliest and best teacher and guide -- his mother. The origin of most sins also can be traced to the influence of a bad woman. Samson, the giant, becomes the blinded, helpless slave, by trusting to false Delilah. Ahab loses honour and life by making Jezebel his counsellor. Mark Antony, the conqueror, sits helpless at the feet of Cleopatra. Never forget the power of leading others which you have as mothers, wives, or sisters, and take good heed that you lead them in the right way.
Secondly, let me give you a few homely words of advice about the special temptations and dangers which surround you, and the best means of helping each other to resist them. Many of you passed from home life into domestic service, where you have very frequently to stand alone, without the help of parent or teacher. Every position in life has its special trials and temptations. I have temptations which do not come to you; you have trials from which I am free. I have heard many life-stories like yours when I have been holding a Mission, and therefore I know far more of your special temptations than you imagine. One of these special dangers is bad company. You all have your holidays, and your "days out," and you naturally look forward to them very eagerly. But, my sisters, stay, and ask yourselves the question -- How do I spend my holidays? If the day be Sunday, do you keep God's Commandment, and observe the Sabbath Day to keep it holy? If not, how can you expect to be kept from evil? You promised in your Baptism and your Confirmation to keep all God's Will and Commandments, and one of these is, "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath Day." Take care what company you keep. If you cannot say, "I am a companion of all such as love the Lord," be sure your company is of the wrong sort. I have known many a one who has lost name, fame, character, all that a woman holds most dear, and who has brought an honest name to disgrace, and broken a mother's heart, by mixing with bad company. The proverb says that a person is known by his friends, by the company he keeps. You cannot touch fire and escape burning, and you cannot keep company with those who laugh at religion, who make a mock at sin, who never pray, who talk immodestly, and are disobedient to the wishes of parent or employer, without falling into sin yourselves.
If any of you who hear me are entangled with such company, make up your mind now, and give it up. Be brave enough to do what is right. Ask God to make you brave. And one word more, help each other to do what is right. I say to you who want to go in the right way, keep each other company. None of us can stand alone, we need help. You have probably heard the story of the blind man and the lame man who were called to journey to a distant place. What was to be done? The blind man could not see, the lame man could not walk; so they helped each other: the blind man carried the lame man, who directed him in the right way. Some of you have stronger wills and characters than others, let the strong help the weak. But how can you best help each other? Soldiers in battle assist each other by closing their ranks, and keeping together. There is the secret of strength, keep together. Let all the members of your society march together. Try to set each a good example, a strong example, by prayer, by reading your Bible daily, by attending the services of the Church as frequently as possible, by coming to the Altar of the Blessed Sacrament, whenever it is possible. Above all, pray, intercede, for each other.