In ancient days, some years after the Hebrew people had been taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar, a group of Hebrews settled in the city of Susa. In time, they blended into the fabric of the society and people like Mordecai, from the Tribe of Benjamin, were given roles in King Ahasuerus’ court. These people, though strangers in a foreign land, proved that they could adapt and thrive almost anywhere. In the house of Mordecai, a faithful servant of God, there lived a young woman named Esther, Mordecai’s beautiful cousin.
Esther had no desire to be known by the masses. She had no desire for anything at all, but to live a quiet life and serve her Lord in peace.
But God had His own plan for Esther.
When Queen Vashti disgraced King Ahasuerus publicly, by blatantly disregarding an order to come into his presence that he might display her beauty to the populace and officials, the King demanded an answer. She was too busy, she was sick of her husband’s agenda, and she just couldn’t be bothered.
So the King was done being bothered by the Queen.
She was sent away, banished. The King put out an order that all the women in the kingdom should be gathered and pampered. Each one would spend an evening in the King’s presence. After he had assessed the possibilities, he would name one of the virgins to be his queen.
Esther wanted nothing of it. Her cousin encouraged her to go with the women. Don’t be afraid, perhaps it was for this moment that you were created, he said.
Esther wasn’t so sure. But because she was obedient, she joined the other women in going to the palace.
In time, she had her evening with the King, and he was completely taken by her beauty and gentle spirit. Out of all of the women in the kingdom, he chose Esther to be his queen.
But Esther had a secret. The King of Persia did not realize that his wife was one of the Hebrew women, an exile in a foreign land. She may have told the King that she was an orphan, which she was, but she did not tell him that she was related to Mordecai, and she did not tell him that she was a Jew.
And so, when Haman, the King’s right-hand-man, presented the King with an order to kill the Jews (along with a laundry list of why he believed it was necessary), the King placed his seal on the order. He did not realize that he had just ordered the death of his beloved wife.
Mordecai visited the palace and told his young cousin of the edict. He explained to her that she would have to intercede or her people would surely die.
Queen Esther had a problem. The penalty for going into the King’s presence, without him ordering it first, was death – unless the King had mercy and extended his scepter to the Queen.
Esther decided that her cousin might be right. Perhaps it was for this moment that she had been created. The young woman sent word that the Jews must not eat or drink for three days, and they must also pray that the King might have mercy on them.
Esther fasted and prayed for three days, and then, she boldly entered the presence of the King.
When the King saw Esther, he was overcome with love and, rather than order her death, he extended his scepter to her. She invited her husband to a dinner in his honor – and she invited the evil Haman as well.
Once they had gathered for the banquet, the King asked Esther to tell him what was bothering her. She could ask anything of him, up to half his kingdom, and it would be hers.
Esther very humbly thanked the King and Haman for coming to the banquet, and she asked them both to do her the honor of attending another banquet the next evening as well.
Once again, when they had gathered for the banquet, the King asked Esther what was bothering her. Again, he promised her anything, up to half of his kingdom.
Now, the moment had finally come and Esther poured out her heart. She courageously stood in the gap for her people and pleaded with her husband to spare their lives. Please, Lord, have mercy on me, spare my life and the lives of my people!
Kill you, Esther? What are you talking about? Just who are you people?
I am a Hebrew woman, my Lord. And you have signed the edict declaring that all the Hebrew people are to be slain, struck down. The enemy of my people has delivered us up to destruction, slaughter, and extinction.
Who is the man who has dared to do this? The King asked.
The enemy oppressing us is the wicked Haman. And she turned toward Haman, who was immediately seized with dread.
The story moves quickly now. Haman is killed and the Hebrew people are spared, including the lives of Esther and Mordecai.
Perhaps you are like Esther. Maybe your one desire is to live a quiet life, humbly serving Our Lord. And yet, maybe God has a job for you that you did not expect. Maybe he plans to take you out of your comfort zone and put you in the heart of the battle. Throughout Salvation History, God noticed the quiet lives of women, and he raised them up and placed them in unique positions to establish his plan.
Once upon a time, there was a virgin who pleased God in every way. Like Esther, she expected to live a quiet life, but she was asked to step into the gap, to intercede for her people, to turn the heart of the King of kings toward those marked for death, so that they might be spared. The woman?
The Blessed Virgin Mary.
And now, you must look to Esther and Our Lady for inspiration. Dear women of the King, now is the time to rise up and intercede. We are living in a time in which many are marked for death. I know how you feel. It would be so much easier to live a quiet life, safely going about the task of raising a family-
While millions of babies die.
Queen Esther and Our Lady have set a standard. We cannot remain silent when so many little lives are marked for death. We must fast and pray and beg for a new edict. We must bring this petition to the altar, God’s banquet table, and we must beg the King to have mercy and act justly.
Women have changed the course of history before – rise up and do the same.
One more little insight into this story. Perhaps you hold a public office and feel compelled to support abortion legislation or perhaps you have cast your vote for a pro-abortion candidate, while you have your own laundry list of reasons (as Haman did for the edict he wrote on the king’s behalf), you must realize that Haman was invited to the banquet and he ate and drank in the King’s presence – just as you do when you go to Mass. Don’t forget what happened to him. He was given the death sentence in the end. The Church isn’t kidding around with this. If you present yourself for Holy Communion, be sure that you have repented and made a good confession. Unlike Haman, for you there is still time.
I Corinthians 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.