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Among Women 171: The Joy of the Incarnation

Among Women 171: The Joy of the Incarnation

This week on Among Women we think about the coming of Christmas through the eyes of Mary, as told by St Ephrem the Syrian, a 4th century Doctor of the Church. We examine some of his Nativity Hymns, in a departure from our usual saint segment that typically profiles women saints — after all, he is talking about Mary and he’s a Church Doctor!

Our guest today is a cloistered contemplative nun — Sr Grace Remington OCSO, a Cistercian Sister of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, Dubuque, Iowa. Together we discuss the life of a Trappist nun and Sr Grace’s portrait of Mary and Eve (below)… as well as the abbey’s candy-making endeavors!

Listen to the whole podcast here — or on iTunes, episode 171. This is the final episode until 2014!

Mary & Eve, Sr Grace Remington OCSO

Mary & Eve
Pencil and Ink
copyright 2005 Sr Grace Remington OCSO

Give Books as Christmas Gifts this year…

Give Books as Christmas Gifts this year…

I love my publisher, Ave Maria Press… and yes, this is a little commercial for the joy of giving books as Christmas gifts.

You just might want to do some Christmas shopping over there, or wherever you buy your favorite books.

350_28683453709_2229_nSome of my best pals have books at Ave Maria Press…. and many of them have been my guests on Among Women chatting about what they’ve written…

Lisa Hendey,  Elizabeth Scalia,  Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss,  Dawn Eden,  Sarah Reinhard,  Tim & Sue Muldoon,  Patrice Fagnant MacArthur,  Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle,  Marge Fenelon… and me, too.

OR, if there’s a Mom in your life who’s not much of a reader, she may enjoy the audio book from Lisa Hendey, complete with chapter sidebar voice-over efforts from me on the audio book version of The Handbook for Catholic Moms.

Ave Maria also carries some of my longtime favorite authors like Henri Nouwen,  Caryll Houselander, and  Eugene Boylan.  



banner photo credit

other photos: Ave Maria Press

Advent Journal Entry: Advent Advice from Isaiah 1:5

Isaiah 1: 5: “….come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”



What a beautifully simple invitation. To come.

It’s a opportunity. It’s a journey. It’s a call. It’s a visit.

God wants us to come to him this season. As he comes to us.

God wants us to be with him this season. Well, in all seasons, really. But sometimes we need loving, nudging reminders. Like a personal dinner invitation over the phone, or a party invitation in the mail, or the suggestion of a prophet to his God’s people at the First Sunday of Advent Mass.

Advent means, “coming”… and the One who is coming is Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Advent of the Lord. Am I engaged in his coming? Am I aware of his presence? Will I choose to come and enter into this season, to enter into this walking?

Let us walk…

Walking is a human activity. Walking is a naturally occurring movement for most people.

Walking is a pace of activity that does not involve running or rushing. Like walking with someone and talking at the same time. Or walking and observing the world around us. Breathing and moving with purpose. Not standing still, but not zooming either. Walking.

Walking is getting from here to there and back again. Walking is healthy. It is good for me and I need to do more of it.

Am I walking or running? Or am I standing still?

Where I am walking? Who am I walking with?

I read that Isaiah is being pretty specific about that.

In the light of the Lord…

What does this mean — to be in the light of the Lord? In the preceding verses the prophet Isaiah speaks of the Lord’s mountain and how his people come to it for instruction.

In days to come,
the mountain of the LORD’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it;
many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”

What does this mean to me? The light of the Lord comes from his instruction to me. To be in the Lord’s light means I must be close to his teaching… both in God’s Word in the Bible, and his words coming through the Church.

To walk in the light of the Lord suggests that I must be close to the lights of Advent. Like confession, prayer, Eucharist, almsgiving. Even fasting as we await the feasting of the holy days. These bring the light of the Lord to my heart, my days, my attitude.

But the light of the Lord is more…  for the light that I’ve described so far comes to us is merely a by-product of the Presence of the Lord.

The call to come, to walk, to be in the light… this is a personal invitation to be with Someone. It suggests the Lord is already with us. Here. Now.

The bottom line is that Advent lights point to the Light of the world — Jesus who is Joy to the world.

What if every single light we saw this season, from the candlelight of advent wreaths, to the stars on Christmas trees, to the twinkling house lights and storefront windows, had the power to increase our joy of Him?

1375017_89926289Well, what if we actually let that happen?  What if, as a kind of crazy advent experiment, we choose to pause and to breathe in joy with every light we see and to breathe out, deeply, the presence of the Lord? We would indeed be walking in the light of the Lord! But really, what I’m talking about is much more than the power of positive thinking… that is exactly the kind of grace we can get from the sacraments — the very presence of Jesus lives in us– during this Advent season!

This is the start of a new year… the chance to begin again with God… to come… to walk… to dwell… in the light of the Lord.

Let us welcome the invitation The more we know of Him, the more we want of Him, the more we can anticipate the joy of the coming Christmas and the Coming Again.


God is light and in him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1: 5




The F.U.N. Quotient… keeping Christmas still, with one of my favorite hymns of all time. Listen here!


Honestly, another one of my favorite recordings of this was made by the Daughters of St Paul, you can find it on this app, or here.

Come, Lord Jesus!

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas!

Among Women Podcast #153: Joy!

Among Women Podcast #153: Joy!

This week’s episode is a special edition of Among Women, where we depart from our normal format and take time to consider a subject more in depth, with input from our listening audience. In this episode I spend some time sharing on the subject of joy, and how J.O.Y. is an acronym for a Christian life that puts Jesus first, others second, and yourself last. I also share from Psalm 37 and spend a little bit of time unpacking what that psalm means to me.

I’m grateful that several listeners and former guests of Among Women phoned in and wrote to me about the subject of joy, and its a pleasure to add their voices to the podcast. There’s also a giveaway of the new book from Cheryl Dickow and Teresa Tomeo, Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women, and Cheryl Dickow’s novel, Elizabeth. 

This is the last podcast for 2012, and I plan to return the week of January 7, 2013 with a new show.

Listen to the show here.

Come join me to hear the choir at the Daughters of St Paul Christmas Concert in Boston: Sunday, 3pm

Bob and I have a date on Sunday afternoon, but I wouldn’t mind you all sharing in the fun! Some of my favorite media nuns are singing Christmas carols in Boston. Join us Sunday at 3pm in Jamaica Plain! I’ve already talked this up on Among Women this week! But here are the details.