Coming off the euphoria of Christmas, it’s kind of hard to imagine shifting one’s focus from parties and celebration to the penitential season of Lent, the time we prepare our hearts and homes for the sacrifice Jesus is about to make for humanity.
This past Advent, its own penitential season, I saw reference to the thought, “Without Christmas, there would be no Easter.” The more I contemplated that “simple” statement, the more I realized just how much weight the meaning to those words carried.
Because, it is so true.
As I pondered those thoughts, I remembered I had a book to read, provided to me for review by WINE (Women In the New Evangelization) and the publishing company, Ave Maria Press. I opened up the screen to my phone and for the first time in perhaps a very long time, put aside my mindless Facebook scrolling, and instead, worked on enhancing more of my faith life.
The book I undertook was, Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women, edited by Kelly Wahlquist.
As the days of Advent turned into celebratory days of Christmas, I found myself further drawn into this story – part Scripture study, part fictional narrative, part prayerful reading, and part study guide. Designed to support questions for group discussions, this book was a power house to generate contemplative thought and gave ideas for bringing those thoughts to the forefront of its readers’ everyday actions!
Before reading Walk in Her Sandals, I don’t think I had ever taken a moment to ponder the lives of the women followers Jesus would have met, or known. While praying the Stations of the Cross, I had contemplated Jesus meeting Veronica, a character we follow in the story; yet, until reading this, my thoughts didn’t extend to who Veronica was, from where she came, and I certainly didn’t stop to think how her encounter with Jesus may have shaped her heart going forward.
Furthermore, I can’t say I previously thought about the countless, nameless women who faithfully followed Jesus, some of whom are given names in the fictional narrative. Each woman was on her own spiritual journey upon which concepts of motherhood, specifically spiritual motherhood, and womanhood were introduced and built.
This book made me think. I began asking myself how Jesus’ women followers would have reacted to the events unfolding in His life. I questioned how the women would have responded to the call to serve Jesus, His followers, and those who were reluctant or too skeptical to believe. I was able to identify various parts of my own spiritual journey, in the five women presented through this story, and instead of asking what I would have done, asked myself, “How do I relate to her?”
I began to contemplate my role as a follower of Jesus – in what manner do I follow Him? Am I front and center, or do I hang back? Am I confident in my belief in Him, or do I waiver in my commitment? Do I embrace His teachings open-armed, or do I express skepticism in who He is, and what He teaches?
Finally, I began to assess areas in my own motherhood that I could focus upon – opening my heart more to the movement of the Holy Spirit, and guiding my family in a way which would foster and encourage deep, long lasting love of the Lord.
If you are interested in a quick, but powerful read, which highlights Catholic Christian teaching on motherhood, and more importantly, womanhood, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Walk in Her Sandals.
And, may you read it with your heart open to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit!
I’m writing this on behalf of a special installment of the Catholic Women Blogging Network (CWBN) Blog Hop, hosted over at Reconciled to You. Check out some other summaries and reflections on this book, compiled by other fabulous bloggers, if you want to review the book further before adding it to your reading list this Lenten season!