Don’t Forget the Companion Study Guide
Be sure to get a copy of the exclusive Gaze Upon Jesus Companion Study Guide Journal.
Keep the journal beside you as you read the designated chapters each week. It will guide you through the various sections and provide a place for you to write your observations. especially when spending time in contemplative prayer with the beautiful, colored images in each chapter, through Visio Divina. It will also be a place for you to write answers to the reflection questions.
Foreword Excerpt by Teresa Tomeo
I can remember something that happened to me during Eucharistic Adoration not too long ago. I have a lot of trouble with distractions, which is probably one of the reasons I don’t go to adoration as often as I should. But that day I made the effort to go with my husband. I brought along a new devotional given to me by a close friend whom I consider to be one of the most deeply spiritual woman in my circle of friends. I sat quietly for a while, said a few prayers, and then opened the devotional. The reflection for that day nearly knocked me right out of the pew. It was words of encouragement to keep my eyes on Him. “I designed you to reflect my glory and you do so by looking to me— turning your face toward the light. The longer you stay in this light-drenched atmosphere, the more I can bless and strengthen you.” Wow. I put the book down and looked back up at Jesus and just kept looking. And that’s my prayer for you; that Gaze Upon Jesus will help you keep your eyes focused on him, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). ~ Teresa tomeo
Introduction Excerpt from Kelly Wahlquist, WINE: Women In the New Evangelization founder
As I studied the woman before me, my eyes were drawn to her face. She was beautiful, and her smile was pleasant, but it was her eyes that captured me—she was gazing at me. She was looking directly at me with such a tender expression of love and compassion that I instantly felt completely at peace. The church seemed to shrink from a large building with 200 people to an intimate space with just two. I was mesmerized by this beautiful Mother, whose gaze filled me with love. The peace I experienced was so consuming that I never heard the song end and was jarred out of that moment by the sound of my aunt’s voice calling my name, as she motioned for me to take my seat.
That moment with Mary, after receiving her Son [in First Holy Communion], was a transforming moment for me. In her gentle gaze, my heart was open to receive all the graces God had for me that special day and all the days to come.
How to Use Gaze Upon Jesus
In Gaze Upon Jesus, we will experience the Incarnation and early years of Jesus through the eyes of women, factual and fictional, who are present from the time of the announcement of the angel until the moments the teenage Jesus was found in the temple. As we look through the eyes of women who set their gaze upon Jesus, and who waited and cared for, nurture, and encountered him, we hope to grow and virtue and holiness so that someday we will meet his gaze eternally.
The study consists of six chapters each taking up a different vignette in the infancy narrative, five of which are proclaimed in the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. Each chapter begins with a moment to ponder, from Kelly Wahlquist, which sets the stage for what will play out and then each chapter.
Next comes “Enter the Scripture” with author and Scripture scholar, Sarah Christmyer. This section leads us into the Scripture and unpacks the riches that are offered to us in the Biblical narrative and the Liturgical year. Reading the scriptures citations provided beforehand makes for a powerful experience.
A Biblical fiction novel by Stephanie Landsem is weaved throughout each chapter. This feature called Gaze Upon Jesus draws you deeper into the story with a fictional narrative that allows you to experience what it may have been like for the women who lived and walked with Jesus. Like so many modern-day Catholic women, these ancient women were seekers and sharers of God’s loving gaze.
“In Search of [virtue]” shines a spotlight on a particular virtue in such a way that you will begin to understand and live six virtues and a new and profound way—in your womanhood. Maria Morera Johnson, WINE contributor and author of two beautiful books about virtuous living, writes this part of each chapter.
“Reflect on the Meaning” comes from six amazing WINE friends and women of faith including Dr. Deborah Savage, Alyssa Bormes, Mary Healy, Dr. Elizabeth Lev, Joan Lewis, and Katie Warner. Dr. Lev also lends her art historian expertise, along with Kelly Wahlquist, in the Visio Divina contemplation of each chapter’s full-colored pictures.
The questions for group discussion are written by Dr. Carol Younger, and finally, each chapter concludes with “Walking in the New Evangelization” by Kelly Wahlquist, where readers are challenged to put their newly pondered and discussed virtue into action.