Learn more about my latest book – All In: Why Belonging to the Catholic Church Matters. Available for Pre-order now!
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:

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-9-40-43-am

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!

:::

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.

:::

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. 

:::

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

 

It’s no coincidence Francis is calling us together on Pentecost to prays for peace in the Middle East

It’s no coincidence Francis is calling us together on Pentecost to prays for peace in the Middle East

Pope Francis is calling for peace in the Middle East, and especially in the Holy Lands, by inviting Israeli and Palestinians to pray together with him at the Vatican. And how marvelous that it is taking place on Pentecost! Have you seen the Scripture readings that the global church will be proclaiming and praying over this weekend? I think the Holy Spirit did a very fine job of bringing these leaders together on such a day.  There’s nothing coincidental about this event in my mind. Our job here is to pray, pray, pray.

At Pentecost, our Sunday readings bring us the Pentecost account from Acts of the Apostles in the first reading, and the Gospel for Pentecost, recalls Jesus bestowing the gift of peace and the Spirit in a powerful post-resurrection display.

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.” 

John 20:19-23

 

During his recent Holy Land pilgrimage, Pope Francis invited Israel’s President Shimon Peres, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to the Vatican to pray for peace. They have accepted his invitation and will be with the Holy Father tomorrow on Pentecost. Also in attendance will be Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

Prayers will be prayed by Christians, Jews and Muslim together around 7pm Rome time. Details from the VIS news are here. The full text of the prayers and program can be read here.

The program outline from the Vatican:

May the Lord give you peace!

We have gathered here, Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims, so that each of us can offer his or her own that each of us can express his or her desire for peace for the Holy Land and for all who dwell there.

Together with Pope Francis, who greatly desired this moment, Patriarch Bartholomaios of Constantinople and all those present, Presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas will join in this calling, voicing the desire of their respective peoples to invoke to God the common longing for peace.

This evening’s meeting will consist of three parts, followed by a conclusion.

Each part will be devoted to an invocation by one of the three religious communities, in chronological order: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Each part will itself unfold in three moments. The first moment will consist of an expression of praise to God for his gift of creation, and for his having created us as members of the human family.

In the second moment, we will ask pardon from God for the times we have failed to act as brothers and sisters, and for our sins against him and against our fellow men and women.

In the third moment, we will ask God to grant the gift of peace to the Holy Land and to enable us to be peacemakers.

Each of these three moments will be framed by a brief musical interlude. A musical meditation will conclude each of the three main parts.

Be sure to read the prayers and watch the proceeding if you can.

May the Holy Spirit fall anew on each of these leaders and their people. May God bring about something new. From the Sequence from Pentecost Sunday:

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

Come, Holy Spirit!

 

Pentecost song: You are the Fire

A family favorite: Michael W. Smith with a song from his new album “Sovereign”

Post Pentecost – Recalling the Effects of Confirmation

Post Pentecost – Recalling the Effects of Confirmation

There’s a timely reminder in the Catechism of the Catholic Church for this “time” in the liturgical calendar – smack dab between Pentecost and Ordinary Time. And it is this: Pentecost should remind us of our Confirmation!

CCC 1302 states:

It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

I grew up in a Catholic home and went to a parochial grade school. It was taken for granted that I would be confirmed. But, despite its importance, Confirmation being a sacrament and all, I was slow to understand its significance in my life. Hindsight, so the saying goes, is 20/20.

If I am perfectly honest, as I look back on my Confirmation at the age of 12, I can say that that I was formed in one thing: being able to stand up for the faith. Not that I completely knew what my faith taught, mind you, but I knew I was responsible to stand up for it. I didn’t question it. I was immature, and I likened my ideas about Confirmation to a kind of “patriotism”… I was a Catholic and it was my honor to live by and defend the laws of the Church, just like I was an American pledging allegiance to the flag.

Actually, my feelings about the sacrament were almost irrelevant. Yet, despite how I would “feel” about my Confirmation, the “effects” of the Sacrament are still the same… the Holy Spirit was poured out upon me. The Sacrament “took” as long as I was properly prepared for it, and the Bishop acted appropriately as to the Rite.

I just did not appreciate my Confirmation until later.

Two years following my Confirmation, the Lord led me to a youth prayer group. Actually, the Lord led my mother to lead me to a prayer group. It seems they needed a musician to help lead the worship, and I had just enough guitar ego in me to oblige. But despite my less-than-noble reasons for serving, that prayer group was where I really started to “live it” – meaning that my faith became “not for Sundays only.”
As I look back, I began a wonderful journey of faith in my teen years, thanks to the grace of God. The grace of Confirmation began to kick in. Little did I know that I was beginning to cooperate with that grace.

CCC 1303 states that our Confirmation brings about five effects, the first of which is that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit increases and deepens our baptismal grace. Confirmation “roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!””
When I was a teenager, I began to understand my identity as a baptized Catholic was that of a child of God. That’s what divine filiation is—to be made part of God’s family.

St. Paul writes in Romans 8:14-17:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Secondly, it follows that CCC 1303 states that Confirmation “unites us more firmly to Christ.” To my tender teenage heart, this was the idea of falling in love with Christ. As if I could really make a return to Christ for all he had done for me. But, truly, that unity with Christ was and is far more dependent on Christ’s gift to me, than my gift to him. And yet, he loves me all the same!

God is determined to give mere mortals the means to live for him. Therefore, we see the third effect of Confirmation being that it “increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us.” The more open we are to the Holy Spirit, the more we can respond to Christ. In other words, our moral life is sustained by the Holy Spirit’s gifts that make us docile and teachable and obedient to God’s will. (Cf. CCC 1830.)

CCC 1303 teaches that Confirmation delivers a fourth effect: it “renders our bond with the Church more perfect”. The Bishop, who administers the Rite of Confirmation, shows us that bond. Where the Bishop is, there the Church is, to paraphrase St. Ignatius of Antioch in the second century. His holy office is our apostolic witness, our tie to the foundations of our faith dating back past Ignatius to the time of Christ and his apostles. As Jesus sent his apostles, so he sends us… and we are to be sent in unity with the Body of Christ, which is the Church.

Not only that, CCC 1303 continues, Confirmation gives us “a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. This is the Truth that we are called to stand up for and defend, and we already have been given the grace to do it. This is the special charism of Confirmation.

And what is it that we have truly received? In CCC 1303, St. Ambrose, a Doctor of the Church from the fourth century, spells out the fifth and most challenging effect of our Confirmation:

Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence.

Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.

As confirmed Catholics, there is no shirking of the duties and responsibilities inherent in this calling. There may be ignoring of it, and, even a rejecting of it. But we cannot remove this Confirmation that is upon us, once it is imposed.

So much so, that that CCC 1304 reminds us:

Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.

Did that last line sound familiar? These were some of the parting words of Jesus to his disciples, just prior to his Ascension into heaven.

Luke 24:48-49:

You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.

And you remember what that Power was now, don’t you? The Holy Spirit at Pentecost!

©2009 Patricia W. Gohn

:: This post originally appeared at Catholic Exchange. 

Photo Credit: Pat Gohn, Rome, 2011.