Editor’s Note: We’re privileged to bring you this excerpt from Walk in Her Sandals, a new book from Ave Maria Press edited by Kelly Wahlquist. This book will make a wonderful Lenten read! Ave Maria Press is offering 20% off your purchase of this book or The Living Gospel: Daily Devotions for Lent with promo code CMLENT. This promotion is valid through 3/31/17. –Barb
In my prayer that crisp autumn morning, as the sun glistened on the brightly colored leaves that had fallen on my deck, it was as if Jesus was lovingly looking into my soul and gently pleading with me.
“I need you,” he said.
I didn’t let the Lord finish what he had to say. “What does that mean, Lord?”
The silence was deafening. It was as if the Lord was preparing my heart to hear something of grave importance. “I’m listening,” I told God.
Closing my eyes, I pictured Jesus before me.
“My body is battered, bruised, and broken, and I need you—as women—working in the beautiful gifts you’ve been given in your womanhood, to heal me,” Jesus said.
Immediately my thoughts turned to St. Francis. Just as the Lord said to St. Francis, “Rebuild my Church,” in the recesses of my heart on this October day, I heard the Lord saying to me and to women everywhere, “Heal my Body.”
There is no doubt that in the world today, the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is being repeatedly assaulted. We need only turn on the television, open a newspaper, or surf the Internet, and instantly we see how our Lord continues to be persecuted. It can be disheartening at times, but as followers of Christ we do not lose heart. Our hope is in the Lord.
For the last twelve years I have ministered to many faith-filled women, traveling the country and connecting with others just like me—people on fire to share the Gospel and make Jesus Christ known and loved. I have encountered women from every walk of life: mothers, nurses, lawyers, teachers, bank tellers, psychologists, writers, bus drivers, artists, and pastoral leaders. Their lives were marked with irrepressible sensitivity, compassion, and generosity. Their hearts were focused on bringing others to Christ to be healed. Now, it was as if Christ was calling them together to be part of a greater healing.
As the faces of my women friends and colleagues surfaced in my memory, the Lord’s words echoed in my ears: “I need women to work in the beautiful gifts they have been given as women and to heal my Body.”
So many of these dear women were purpose filled, driven by an insatiable desire to serve their Lord. Their maternal instincts and innate sensitivity to others could be used, powerfully, in the kingdom of God.
It was a moment of profound illumination. This was a divine summons, a call that could not be ignored. The Body of Christ needed more than just a Band-Aid. It needed to be healed.
But who could lead this charge?
God has bestowed upon all women graces that allow us to understand and to enter fully into our mission as his disciples. He has gifted us with receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and intuitive maternal gifts, all of which allow us to know our heavenly Father on a deeper, more intimate level. St. John Paul II in his letter to women, Mulieris Dignitatem, said, “Christ speaks to women about the things of God, and they understand them; there is a true resonance of mind and heart, a response of faith.”
Okay, Lord, you’ve captured my mind and heart. Where do I begin?
That autumn day in 2012 is now just a distant memory. But I took the Lord’s words to heart. After talking with some of the wisest women I know, we decided to pool our gifts and write a collection of Lenten reflections by women and for women. That’s how Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women came to be. It is our hope that as you enter more fully into Holy Week as a woman, you will enter more fully into the paschal mystery and be continually transformed into the woman God created you to be.
Walk in Her Sandals allows you to enter more fully into Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection in a new and profound way—as a woman living the beauty of your giftedness.
This Lent, I’ll be praying for you, my sister in Christ. May Walk in Her Sandals trigger a grand conversion in your heart. May these stories draw you into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in a new and profound way, and may your heart be softened (evermore) and your ears be opened.
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Copyright 2016 Kelly Wahlquist
This excerpt from Walk in Her Sandals reprinted with the generous permission of Ave Maria Press.