In Chapter 1 of Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women, Kelly Wahlquist and her magnificently assembled co-authors lead us into Holy Week and allow us to experience Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem in a new and profound way—as women.
The Gift of Receptivity
The gift of womanhood featured in this first chapter is the gift of receptivity. This gift, author Pat Gohn explains, “Is the willingness to open ourselves to what God has in store for us.” Pat further explains this is not merely the biological receptivity of a woman’s body to receive her husband’s love (physically) or bear a child in her womb, but includes also the great gift of women to be spiritually and emotionally receptive. (Excuse the Interruption: If you’ve not already done so, I highly recommend reading Pat Gohn’s Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious. Trust me, you will NEVER look at being a woman the same way again!)
Personally, my receptivity feelers are not firing on all cylinders. Sure, I’m open to whatever God has for me as long as it is good, healthy, and includes very little discomfort. Unlike Jesus entering into Jerusalem ready to fulfill God’s Will, I spend far too much time avoiding God and his Will. Perhaps I am hoping that if I am really quiet and well-behaved, I will avoid whatever cross is lurking in my day. Ironically, my cross has become my fear of the cross. My focus is far too much on this false fear of the possible tragedy lurking around the corner, and in turn I lose sight the good things God has in store for me—in any situation.
Embracing My Cross
During my last confession, which just happened to take place at the 2017 WINE: Catholic Women’s Conference titled Small Things, Great Love—It’s What We Do, the priest gave me a very unusual penance. He advised me to pray the Our Father three times. Ok, that’s not the unusual part. What was unusual is that he said when I reached “give us this day,” I was not to say “our daily bread,” but rather I was to make it personal and insert, “a love of the cross that God has for me.” I was to say, “Give me this day, a love of the cross that God has for me.” He was telling me to trust that those crosses specifically chosen for me would be the perfect size and weight. He was gently encouraging me to be present in the moment and not anxiously anticipate what may come.
As Jesus comes in hailed as a King, he will soon be lifted on a cross—the cross chosen specifically for him. But as he rides into Jerusalem, he is present to that moment. The good that God will bring will elude many of his disciples as they watch the week unfold, much as God’s plan of sheer goodness eludes me when I face my own crosses. I want to flee like Peter… yet for today, I will stay here on Palm Sunday embracing my gift of receptivity and awaiting what God has for me on this journey.
Learning Lectio Divina
One of my favorite sections of the Walk in Her Sandals book is the inclusion at the end of each chapter of a beautiful opportunity to reflect on Scripture with Lectio Divina. If you’re not familiar with Lectio Divina, it is a way of prayerfully praying the Scriptures. Because this is such a powerful way to read Scripture, I wanted to share it with you as part of today’s reflection.
Simply, as so well explained in Walk in Her Sandals, the Scripture passage is slowly read through once. Then, read again, this time a wee bit slower. We then read it a third time, underlying or noting words or verses that JUMP OUT or touch our hearts. If you’ve never done this, you will be amazed. In my ten years of reading scripture, I never tire of the Spirit guiding my reflection on the Word. It may seem repetitious, but trust me —SCRIPTURE IS MEANT to be read this way!! Even after reading the same verses 100 times, I still discover something new! The Scriptures are not referred to as the ‘living Word of God’ for nothing!
But Wait There’s More
When you’ve completed this third reading, there are a few questions to ponder. This is the same for each passage and can be used with ANY verse of Scripture. (If you have the Walk in Her Sandals journal, it is the perfect place to record your thoughts during Lectio Divina.)
- What do I hear?
- What does it mean?
- What is Jesus saying to me?
Let’s do this. The Lectio Divina verse for chapter one is John 12:12-19.
Here are the words and phrases that POPPED off the page at me. A caveat here in the interest of space, I am going to combine steps 1 and 2; however, if you are doing this with a group please adhere to the format. For whatever reason, many people want to explain their “aha verse” right away, but refrain from doing that today and enjoy the purposeful design of this beautiful practice. I promise it will enhance your experience with the Word.
What I Heard and What It Meant to Me
- Hosanna! My daughter is deaf and I interpret the Mass for her. When I first learned the sign for Hosanna I was amazed to learn it is the same as Alleluia.
- Blessed is HE who comes in the Name of the Lord
- FEAR NOT Daughter. My opening reflection will completely explain this one.
- Bore Witness
What Jesus is Saying to Me
Fear not. Just one of the over 365 times the Scriptures instruct me not to worry, fear, or be afraid! He comes to me; and He comes for me. In that knowledge, I have nothing to fear. Though my trust may waver, my faith does not. Hosanna! Alleluia! Jesus is LORD! He is my Savior! These events John recounts are not story, but history. HIS Story! My heart longs to bear witness but my flesh still fears.
Lord Jesus, help me to be open to what the Father has for me. Help me to best use my glorious gift of receptivity to fear not and to bear witness to your redemptive work!
All Rights Reserved Allison Gingras, 2017