A Walk in Her Sandals Review

This is a book that combines biblical truth and teachings, devotions, life application, and fiction into one. Each chapter is divided into different sections, each meant to give you a different and unique perspective on the last week of Jesus’ life. What intrigued me the most was the fictionalized, behind the scenes, woman’s take on what was happening during Holy Week. Not to give anything away, but a possible and plausible answer to “who cooked the Passover dinner?” is in there!
A Walk in Her Sandals edited by Kelly M. Wahlquist is part of the Women in the New Evangelization effort and will be the book club read during Lent this year. It will be very interesting to read it during Lent when we are walking with Jesus to his passion, death, and resurrection. What is different about this book is two-fold; first, it is written from a woman’s perspective, for women, which is unique. It takes disparate types of writing, puts them together and makes you think about scripture. Knowing scripture is an invaluable way to know about Jesus. Second, practical ways to evangelize, to reach out to others are offered in each chapter.
One of the sections that people may find particularly helpful is the Lectio Divina section. We may have heard about this way of reading scripture, but here we are guided through the passage after we have learned about it.
This book captured my imagination in a way other books have not. I usually don’t like fictionalized stories about Jesus, but these are beautifully written and engaged me. All the parts of the book are woven together, taking us from Palm Sunday to Pentecost, teaching about Jesus, drawing us into a deeper relationship with him, and guiding us in prayer. All of this with the objective to love him more and to serve him more fully in whatever our role is in our life.
I look forward to reading A Walk in Her Sandals during Lent and I hope you will too!

More information about the book is available here.

This post is just one from the Siena Sisters Blog Hop.  For more posts about A Walk in Her Sandals, hop on over to our page!

 

It’s so Ordinary

Ordinary Time, the color green, this year we are listening to Matthew tell us about Jesus’ ministry and maybe, just maybe it seems a bit – well, ordinary. And it is. And it should be.

But let us not be hasty and confuse ordinary with boring. Just a few weeks ago we celebrated the Incarnation and now we have some time before Lent begins.

What do we do in Ordinary Time? We listen and learn about what Jesus did while with us. We hear the miracles of healing, casting out demons, and calming storms. We try to understand the parables and where we fit in those stories. We spend time learning who Jesus is and how he wants to lead us to his Father. This Ordinary Time prepares us for the next season, Lent.

There is wisdom in this cycle of time. While it may seem like nonstop celebrating is fun, we all know that it isn’t. Just as little children need routine and structure, adults do as well. And so the Church provides it.

If we are trying to grow in our faith, then we will use it to our benefit. Take small steps to incorporate more of the “ordinary” into your daily life. Read the daily readings, pray a rosary or chaplet while driving the parent taxi, listen to uplifting music, and remember to pray before meals and at bedtime.

Live in Ordinary Time fully engaged. Our lives are filled with ordinary moments and some of it can be boring. It is those very things, though, that we work out our purpose in this life and salvation in the next.

What is the one thing you can focus on during Ordinary Time that will help you in the seasons to come?

Mary’s yes

I wonder what Mary thought about the gifts the Magi brought, which were odd for a baby, but not so odd for the Savior of the world.
Did Mary know what they foretold or did she just accept them graciously while trying to make some sense of them. We look now and say, of course: gold for a king, frankincense a sign of his divinity, and myrrh a foreshadowing of his suffering.
What did Mary do with the gifts? Were they sold so the family could live in Egypt? Or saved until Jesus began his public ministry and then given to him as a mother’s blessing?
Before we are told why in scriptures the climate of joy at Jesus’ birth changes to one of distress. Mary and Joseph must take Jesus and flee into Egypt to avoid Herod. The family becomes strangers in the land that was once the home of Israel.
God frequently calls people to another place. He does this to give us a new opportunity or chance to change. The Holy Family had an opportunity to live without fear of Herod’s persecution. So they stayed in Egypt until it was safe to return home to Nazareth.
All of this occurred because of Mary and Joseph’s multiple yeses to God.
So, of course, I wonder, what has happened in my life because of my yeses to God? Some of this may resonate with you and some may not. All of it comes from my deep faith and belief that God has a plan; that we are here in this place and this time, together – as a people who have said yes and agreed to cooperate with God’s plan for our good.
What have I said yes to – believing after prayer and discernment that it is God’s will for my life?
I have been married to John for over 30 years. Our love for each other has been tested, but it is true and real and sustains us both. We have two wonderful children who are currently living out their dreams. They bring us joy and give us hope.
I am able to live out my vocation of service to the Church by working in a parish as my profession. My ministry provides laughter, tears, happiness, contentment, frustration, peace, disbelief, amazement and wonder. My favorite times are when I have the privilege of walking with people on their faith journey and watching God work in people’s lives.
Sometimes, though, a yes can bring sadness. Years ago a new friend walked into the Mom’s Group at St. Peter. We did not have a lot in common at first glance but shared a deep faith and love of family. Later she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We began a journey together into exile; many of us willingly went with her and her family. We all did it out of love. Her death was difficult. Would I have said yes to her friendship if I had known the whole story? Without a moment’s hesitation I would do it all again.
I believe that Mary would have said yes if she knew the whole story as well. Her yes was a gift not only to all of us, but to herself. I’m not speaking here about theological reasons such as being born without original sin or being the Queen of Heaven. I am talking about giving the opportunity to love so fully and completely that it is always about the other.
This is what her yes does – it shows me how much to love. She loved and trusted God enough to listen and obey; to be the first disciple and be responsible for God’s son. It makes what I am asked to do seem simple by comparison. I always keep in mind, though, that Mary had a supernatural grace and lack of sin.
In all our lives, we have gone to Egypt and then been called to the place God has planned for us if we are willing to say yes. It is part of life for people of faith. I pray, that like Mary, we all continue to say yes to God and grow in holiness.

What is Faith?

In Hebrews 11:1 we read that “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Paul continues to tell us of the many Old Testament figures who lived out their faith in God in countless ways.
After Jesus suffered, died, and rose the faith of the early Christians was changed from what was possible to what actually happened. We will never have that same experience, but I believe we have times in our lives that point us to faith as the only possible answer.

God does not demand we have faith, he offers it to us. Our response is either yes or no. Why do some have faith and others not? Does God only give it to some of his children? Why do some people appear to have weak faith and others a strong faith?

Since faith is a gift, we choose to accept it or not.

People who profess no faith usually fall into two categories: they do not need faith or they are afraid to accept it. I am speaking here of people raised with some sort of a religious background, not those who were never spoken to of God.

When I work with teens I am often struck by how many of them say they don’t need faith. They believe faith is useless, made up, silliness to somehow force them to do things they don’t want to do. It is not part of the visible world, science can explain everything, and living out faith within a religious experience is just ridiculous.

Others want faith; they see in people of faith something that they do not have in their own lives. But they know that by accepting the gift, there are responsibilities that come with the gift of faith. Changes would have to be made and possibly difficult choices, so instead of accepting faith they are adrift, constantly trying to fill the emptiness.

As St. Augustine says, “Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in thee.” Or, from Plumb, A God Shaped Hole.

Faith is the ability to see God at work in this world.
It is to believe in a power much bigger than you. With faith the impossible become possible.
It is faith that gives us the courage to bring children into this world. The desire to walk with another on their life’s journey is part of faith. It is the strength in our soul to say yes when every other part of us is screaming no.

Sometimes faith means trusting just enough to get out of bed believing that God will clear a path, knowing that when I fall, he will lift me up. Faith also gives us the ability to question the nuts and bolts of our religious beliefs and practices, knowing that God is there in those details and wants us to come to him using our intellect as much as our soul.

Faith is my reason for living as I do each and every day.

It forms me, colors my worldview and gives me passion to live as a person who is constantly experiencing Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

Merry Christmas!

Yes, it’s still Christmas even if the neighbors put their tree out today because it’s trash day! Mine, however, will stay up until the Feast of the Epiphany. But let’s go back to, “it’s still Christmas” for a bit.

We celebrate Christmas for eight days. The celebration begins on Christmas Eve and continues until January 1 with the celebration of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Within these eight days we celebrate a few important feast days. On December 26, we celebrate St. Stephan, a deacon and the Church’s first martyr. The 27th St John, apostle and evangelist is remembered. December 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents in honor of the children killed by King Herod just after Jesus was born. (See Matthew 2:16-18) On December 30 the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is honored.The Church continues with the Christmas season with the Epiphany on Sunday, January 8 and then the Baptism of the Lord on January 9. Tuesday the 10th begins Ordinary Time again.

A little tip on how you know the season changes; the colors you see in Church will change! The Christmas season color is gold or white. The priests’ and deacons’ vestments, as well as banners or cloths used on the altar are gold and/or white. When we move into Ordinary time the color is green.

Enjoy celebrating Christmas for the entire season. Jesus is the greatest gift, a visible sign of the Father’s love for us. The Incarnation gives us new life, both literally as we see a newborn baby and spiritually in that Jesus’ becoming man saves us. He brings us joy and an abundance of love. Celebrate!

Book List for Gift Giving

Books are a favorite gift of mine to give and receive.  If you are in need of some inspiration for someone on your list I have a few favorites.

Daily Reading

For moms, I recommend The Catholic Moms Prayer Companion edited by Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard, with over 80 contributors and topics ranging from saints to smiles you will enjoy these short reflections with a prayer and point to ponder each day.

For everyone, Sacred Reading, The 2017 Guide to Daily Prayer from the Apostleship of Prayer.  It combines prompts for prayer with reading the day’s Gospel.  Always makes me think!

Favorite Books (for men and women)

  • The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by Fr. James Martin, S.J.
  • The Holy Longing and Sacred Fire by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser
  • Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly
  • Our Lady Undoer of Knots by Marge Fenelon
  • Breath of God, Living a Life Led by the Holy Spirit by Fr. Dave Pivonka

Favorite Books for Women

  • In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden (Fiction)
  • Stay with Me by Carolyn Astfalk (Fiction)
  • Who Does He Say You Are? by Colleen C. Mitchell

Books that can Transform You

  • Unbound by Neil Lozano
  • For the Greater Glory of God, A Spiritual Retreat with St. Ignatius by Fr. Manuel Ruiz Jurado
  • the Ignatian Workout, daily spiritual exercises for a healthy faith by Tim Muldoon

Happy shopping and don’t forget to get one for yourself!

Bonus:  If you subscribe to my email list, you can have this for yourself!