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Offer a bookclub for your girlfriends and walk closer with Jesus with… Walk in Her Sandals

Offer a bookclub for your girlfriends and walk closer with Jesus with… Walk in Her Sandals


screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-9-51-13-amIt’s here!

I’ve shared about this book before its release, but now you can get it in your hands! Its a great book to share with the women you know, whether through church, or right around your kitchen table.

Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women  is a labor of love for Christ, and it was written in support of a powerful Catholic women’s ministry called WINE or Women in the New Evangelization. 

Here’s the book’s summary from Amazon:

What if you could have been a witness to the events of the last days of Jesus’ life–walking with him as he entered Jerusalem, observing his crucifixion, and embracing him on Easter? What would you have thought and done? How would you have been changed?

Walk in Her Sandals, edited by popular Catholic author and speaker Kelly M. Wahlquist, takes you deeper into your relationship with Jesus by helping you relate to him in a profoundly intimate way. Looking at six universal gifts of women through the eyes of women in the gospels, the book guides you on a prayerful and creative journey through the days of Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

As you imagine the experience of the women who met Jesus, you will discover how each of them expressed one of six, distinctive, feminine gifts identified in the writings of St. John Paul II. Through the eyes of an imagined woman who watched Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, you will understand how she conveyed the gift of receptivity. Through the hands of Veronica, who reached out to wipe the face of Jesus, you will discover how sensitivity is present and can grow in your own life. These gifts, along with generosity, prayer, maternity, and the Holy Spirit, come to life through the vivid portrayal of women who walked with Jesus. Their imagined stories are complemented by the real accounts of contemporary women who share their own stories of receiving and cultivating these gifts.

This book offers Scripture study, reflections on the feminine genius, and powerful storytelling in a kind of you-are-there way that makes the bible come alive. You’ll also find dynamic personal testimonies from women who are trying to walk with Jesus today. And naturally, there are reflection questions for you (or your group) to help foster discussion about the deeper truths of Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost.

This book was a group effort with these wonderful women, and our fearless leader, Kelly Wahlquist:

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You may very well enjoy reading this book for yourself, but we wrote it to be shared! The benefit of getting together with other women, will deepen your experience. So ask yourself, and ask the Lord, who might you invite to a six week experience with this book? I recommend doing this during Lent, so you can buy the book now, but plan for something in the new year. (But really, you can do this little study any time of the year! It’s up to you!)  Read it now, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to plan for that group event in Lent 2017!

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This just in: Ave Maria Press is now offering 20% off of the book’s cover price. Go here to order and use the promo code #walk. Now thru Oct 31.

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Among Women podcast listeners may enjoy this interview with Stephanie Landsem, who wrote a large part of this book. In this interview, we talk about her love of writing historical fiction with a view toward the women in the bible. We also talk about the writing process for Walk in Her Sandals. Listen here. 

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See all the books to which I’ve contributed here.

 

This makes me think… about the challenge of letting the Lord lead every aspect of my life…

The Three Comings of the Lord

We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.

In case someone should think that what we say about this middle coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord himself ways: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. There is another passage of Scripture which reads: He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

Keep God’s word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.

Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.

If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all.

-St Bernard-
Sermon on Advent, Liturgy of the Hours.

This makes me think… about what animates the Church

The holy Scriptures declare the body of Christ, animated by the Son of God, to be the whole Church of God, and the members of this body—considered as a whole—to consist of those who are believers; since, as a soul vivifies and moves the body, which of itself has not the natural power of motion like a living being, so the Word, arousing and moving the whole body, the Church, to befitting action, awakens, moreover, each individual member belonging to the Church, so that they do nothing apart from the Word.
–Origen*

*Origen against Celsus. In A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe (Eds.), F. Crombie (Trans.), Fathers of the Third Century: Tertullian, Part Fourth; Minucius Felix; Commodian; Origen, Parts First and Second (Vol. 4, p. 595). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

This makes me think… entering into the place where Jesus is…

Not to know Scripture is not to know Jesus, Saint Jerome tells us. And we know Christ only if we are conversant with the words that are the words of God. Scripture tells us how such a oneness with Christ, such a penetration to the center, is to be achieved in practice. It tells us that faith is not something remote from us, something that would require us to engage in great research, or, perhaps, to cross an ocean or make an expedition into the depths of the earth. It speaks to us of what is near. The word is in your heart. You have only to enter into your own heart and you will find it there. Jesus is Lord, Jesus is risen. In these words Paul identifies the two confessional formulas of the Church, which form the heart of our confession of faith. He says: When you enter into your heart, you enter into the place where Jesus is, and vice versa you enter into your heart only when you do not simply hide yourself in yourself but co-believe with the faith of the living Church. In co-believing with the faith of the living Church, in letting yourself be carried along by it, even though many individual teachings continue to be obscure, you are hidden in the communality of the faith and so remain faithful to it, communicate with it. We read Holy Scripture as we should, from its center, from its inner unity, only when we read it in harmony with the faith of the Church.

From: L’Osservatore Romano 13, no. 8 (1983), p. 12

 Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 269). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Getting more familiar with the Bible — Among Women podcasts to help you dig in!

Summertime = down time for many people. If you enjoy having a summer reading list, consider upping your time spent reading God’s Word — the Bible!

Here’s a few podcasts, drawn from my archives at Among Women, that might inspire you along the way.

AW 92: The Bible and You – listen as Among Women listeners share their favorite bible verses, and I share resources for your bible study.

AW 70: The Professor and St Paul – Professor Mary Ward, a PhD in theology, shares her love of St Paul.

AW 8: The Gospel of Mark – Professor Mary Healy, a PhD in theology, shares her love of Scripture. Dr Healy is one of the key developers and editors of the Catholic Commentary on Scripture. Dr Healy’s book on Mark is here. (You might also get a kick from knowing this is one of the earliest AW podcasts – dating all the way back to 2009)

A few more articles and resources:

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This makes me think… about reading the Bible every day in order to know Jesus better

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him: “If you continue in my word, you will be my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8: 31-32

 

O my soul, if you want to be enlightened and instructed, you must not read the Book of Life hastily or superficially, but slowly and attentively; then you will be inflamed with divine love and you will know the truth.
-St Angela of Foligno-

On writing, keeping God first, and Elizabeth Scalia’s new book: Strange Gods

On writing, keeping God first, and Elizabeth Scalia’s new book: Strange Gods

There’s a simple line from the Book of Wisdom, that comes from Solomon’s prayer for wisdom…

“For both we and our words are in his Hand.” (Wisdom 7:16 rsv)

One of the things I love about God is that He is a Creator, and very much, a writer. The Bible is his book. He wrote laws, prose, prophecy, and poetry. And He gets writers. And he is pleased when writers words inspire and point to him. He not only chose to use human writers to pass on his divine revelation when He breathed his life into the Scriptures, but he shares his divine life still today — in the Spirit — for “in him, we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). This doesn’t mean that what we modern Catholic writers are writing is scripture, but if we are writing anything worthwhile, it had better be based on the truths of scripture.

As a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, and as a writer at many Catholic websites and periodicals, I’ve been blessed to meet several writers who strive to be agents of the new evangelization, to write, as it were, in a certain sense, for God, and for making his words and his ways better known throughout the earth in whatever genre or media we may be using. As a spiritual and writing practice  each day, as we take up our pens and keyboards, I suggest it would be good for us to recognize this simple truth from Solomon, one of the great biblical writers, that both we, and our words are in God’s hands. That God is, really, our all in all. And we should let nothing, nothing, get between God and us.

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Elizabeth Scalia is a writer I’ve long admired. Her posts at The Anchoress, Our Sunday Visitor, and her weekly column on Tuesdays at First Things, have been staples in my weekly reading for several years.

In recent years, when I’ve been asked to give talks to new media newbies for the Catholic Writers Guild, and elsewhere, The Anchoress’s blog would be one of the few that I would cite for new would-be bloggers as one of the premier blogs that we might all hope to emulate. Good writing. Crisp analysis. Witty. Engaging. And more good writing.Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 11.02.57 PM

One summer day in 2010, when I was giving that same new media talk to a gathering of Catholic writers in New York, much to my surprise, Elizabeth Scalia was in the audience. We had never met before, and we later struck up a little conversation after her very constructive comments were given from the floor to the group in an open Q&A. I believe the subject matter at that moment was that I was exhorting future and present writers to be of service to one another — to help form a community for the cause of Christ, and to view one another with charity, not as competition within the same media, but as potential allies and friends, where friendly “iron sharpening iron” could take place without tearing down the other, knowing that we are called to call each other forward in this great endeavor. In this way, we’d foster the new evangelization by first being evangelized ourselves by the law of love… remembering that we and our words are in His hand.

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Elizabeth Scalia and me, Catholic New Media Conference, 2012.

In the three years since that day, I can say that I truly have been a personal recipient of that kind of generosity of spirit in the blog space that is offered by The Anchoress. Plus, I’m privileged to serve as one of the column writers at Patheos and grateful for my piece of real estate over there that came after Elizabeth asked me to write a short piece for Patheos after our first meeting back in 2010. From there came Elizabeth’s first guest appearance on Among Women, and a whole lot more that I never really expected. Yet like her surprise appearance in my audience that summer afternoon, she has remained someone that has contributed a great deal to the conversation that is my life, both as a writer, and in person, including her kind endorsement and support of my book, and now it is my happy thrill to share a publisher with her in Ave Maria Press.

Elizabeth wrote one heck of book in Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life. There are amazing people who have endorsed it. Frankly, it would be easy for me to say, just go read it and be done. I’ve reviewed it over at the Patheos Book Club, let me tell you why you need to read this: This woman’s words are in God’s hands. This book is one very thought-provoking meditation on just one line from Sacred Scripture… the first commandment: “I am the LORD your God… You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20: 2-3 rsv) Yep, that’s it. That’s the text and thesis of the whole book. And its one we need to recall and bring to mind, and contemplate in a daily way, because for many of us the words in that commandment have grown dull. Or maybe, we’ve never really given them much thought at all.

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Here’s part of my review of Strange Gods at Patheos…

The Ten Commandments first declare, “I am the LORD your God… You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20: 2-3 rsv). And yet, we do. This thoughtful and thought-provoking book, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life, exposes to our chagrin, yet ultimately to our benefit, that this premiere command of the Decalogue cannot be overlooked if we are to ever dare to live the other nine. Armed with faith in the graces that that sustain us in our failures, plus witty sensibilities regarding the nature of fortitude and wisdom, author and blogger extraordinaireElizabeth Scalia, offers us mortals in search of grace, a thorough reality check:

“We dismiss the golden calf story and its lessons at our peril. It’s true we are no longer literally flinging our precious metals into a crucible and buffing up stolid beasts of burden to worship. In some ways matters are worse, for we do not know the idols we bow down to. Our present-day idols are much less obvious, but they are also less distant and more ingrained within us. Idols begin with ideas. From there we shape them in the psyche, grow them in the ego, and then engage with them intimately, throughout our lives, in our families, our culture, our entertainments, and our political discourse. We create idols out of our norms of behavior, our material possessions, and social status. We even create them out of our faith.”

Who among us has not bowed down to something we have really wanted?  Or maybe we’ve used different language for it — we might be flinging ourselves toward someone or something, or actively achieving something that consumes us — even the seemingly good things in life? Or what about all the trophies we line up for ourselves — the way we make plans, use time, or even play or work with technology? Whatever captivates or demands our attention has the distinct potential to become an idol standing between the verity that is our true life with God — an encounter we may miss, delay, or betray in favor of our strange gods. Ouch! Do you really what to read this book? Yes and yes.

1-59471-342-1Yes, open this book, and prepare to feel, perhaps momentarily, panicked that all of your life is an unexposed idol minefield, fraught with spiritual missteps that you can never avoid. But, YES, take courage! Like an experienced special ops mission commander unlocking the mysteries of night vision goggles and other tactics to detect the presence of The Enemy at close range, Scalia teaches plebes and veterans alike how to see more clearly so they can wisely navigate the previously unseen dangers of modern idolatry.

A particular strength of this book, and why it will be successful in furthering the new evangelization, is that Scalia offers a self-effacing demeanor and candor in describing her own idol worship. But more than that, Scalia affirms, ultimately, that Christianity as a yes — at its heart is a benevolent and loving God Who really is worthy of all attempts at idol smashing.

The rest is here.

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Among Women listeners can look forward to a guest appearance from Elizabeth Scalia, coming in June.

 

You are the apple of God’s eye. (That’s not from a Hallmark greeting card, that’s in the Bible…)

Today’s Morning Prayer canticle from Deuteronomy captures this phrase:

“He encircled him, he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye. (Dt 32:10)

Elsewhere in the Old Testament the Psalmist prays:

“Keep me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of thy wings.” (Ps 17:8)

The bible makes use of that phrase in other books as well. There are a number of colloquial phrases that have made their way into our language, but this one from the Bible, about our being the apple of God’s eye, is a particular favorite of mine since my teenage years. Coming across it again today was like receiving a hug from heaven.

Augustine taught that God loves us –as if we were the only one! That’s the sense that I get from this little phrase. God loves me. And I know that in the magnanimity of his love, God loves you too, the same way.

When I take God at his word, and trust that it has something in it for me — to help me or encourage me — it makes all the difference in my day. (That’s why I love to spend a little time with the Bible each morning, even if I’m praying the shortened version of Morning Prayer found in my Magnificat.)

 

How about you? Do you have a favorite bible verse that has become meaningful lately, or one from long ago that you’ve revisited lately?

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Welcome to the Year of Faith! (Great links to get you started and to bookmark.)

Welcome to the Year of Faith! (Great links to get you started and to bookmark.)

Welcome to the Year of Faith!

The Year of Faith is actually slightly longer than a full year: October 11, 2012 through November 23, 2013.  It has a three-fold focus: knowing our Catholic faith, living it out both sacramentally within the church and in the world, and sharing the faith through evangelization and catechesis. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a plan for yourself as to what you might do to grow in those three areas.

Here are some links to help us get the most out of this year.

An Overview of the Year of Faith

  • The Calendar for the Year of Faith highlights special Vatican-sponsored events for the coming year including special days to celebrate the canonizations of new saints, lay and religious vocations, confirmations, World Youth Day, devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, Mary and Marian devotion, and more.
  • The Pope and the bishops of the world are meeting in a Synod through the month of October. The theme of those meeting is the new evangelization. The document that contains the agenda for those meetings is found here.

Knowing Your Faith

Get to know the Bible. Most newcomers to bible study get comfortable by first looking at the Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament. Here’s an excellent bible commentary series on the New Testament for personal study or for groups, plus a New Testament study bible to with wonderful study helps built right into its pages.

Get to know the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This landmark reference work is the first update to the universal catechism the Church has had in 400 years, since the Council of Trent. It’s a masterpiece of all the Church believes, worships, lives, and prays. The Year of Faith celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Catechism’s reception. Find one at your local Catholic bookseller, or you may enjoy these resources

  • YOUCAT: the Catechism for youth

Read the Documents of Vatican II. The Year of Faith coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council. Read the documents online, or buy a copy from your local Catholic bookseller. Need a place to start? Try reading Lumen Gentium (The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church). It is 8 chapters long and it is the key to unlocking the themes of the council found in the rest of the documents. Also, coming soon: a film on the historic Council known as Vatican II.

Discover Catholic programming to strengthen your faith through the national television ministries of Catholic TV and EWTN, and look to your local diocesan programming as well. Don’t forget Catholic radio networks, many of which can be found here. If you enjoy new media, SQPN is a Catholic podcasting network. Or, subscribe to Catholic newspapers, magazines, and your diocesan paper.

Watch a DVD. Try the 10-part Catholicism DVD series from Word on Fire. It is often shown in parishes and dioceses, as well as on Catholic television. It is also available for purchase.

Take a course. Pillars of Catholicism is a free online course that is being offered by the professors of John Paul the Great University. This series is a self-professed crash course in the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith. It consists of 13 episodes, each a half-hour long. A new episode will be unlocked each week and will be permanently accessible. The course and all materials it provides are free.

Interested in subject matter related to women and the feminine genius? Watch for my new book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, due for release in March 2013. And for your personal and group study I recommend the ministry of Endow, which supports nearly 20,000 women in study groups across the US and Canada.

Living Your Faith

Get more out of the Mass. Try these resources:

  • Magnificat is a print subscription, or use their app for your smart phone to access the daily readings, commentary, and morning and evening prayer.

Pray more and increase your devotional life. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Discover the Liturgy of the Hours. Longtime the prayer practice of priests and religious, many lay people enjoy praying the liturgy of the hours in whole or in part. You can purchase a breviary from your local Catholic bookseller, or online, by going to Universalis or the Divine Office. Modified versions of morning prayer and evening prayer are found in Magnificat.
  • Receive a plenary indulgence for your religious practice by fulfilling certain requirements during the Year of Faith. Elizabeth Scalia offers understanding on the plenary indulgence.
  • Make a holy hour, or go to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Find a chapel that offers Adoration here.

Sharing Your Faith

A baptized Catholic is baptized into the mission of the Church. Therefore, we, too, are called to spread the faith to others. Get started with these resources:

  • New Evangelizers website has blog posts and free resources that can help you make a faith connection with others.

Official Icon of the Year of Faith
Christ the Pantocrator – Cefalu, Sicily (Photo by Xerones, on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xerones/464417485/in/photostream/

 

The information shared here is also found in numerous links I prepared for my column at Patheos. Read the original article here. You can subscribe to it via RSS or email here. It has also been shared in an audio format on the Among Women Podcast