Write In Between

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Among Women Podcast, episode #5

The topic's this week include the inspiration of Mary Magdalene's post-resurrection exclamation, "I have seen the Lord", and guest Colette Crowley and myself discuss ministries for mothers.

You can also enter a drawing for this CD, Praying the Way of the Cross

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Writer's Wednesday - Vincenzia Krymow & M. Jean Frisk

Fragaria vesca
a plant that symbolizes the fruitfulness of Mary

Sometimes medieval artists painted Mary in a robe woven with strawberry patterns. The strawberry is a fruit that has no stone [pit], no thorns and can be eaten whole. Hence it is a reminder of paradise, where the gifts were gathered in love's effortless toil. Its white blossom signified to the painter Christ's incarnation in the Spirit-filled fruitfulness of the Virgin Mary whose cooperation helps restore the lost garden.
The strawberry pattern, symbolizing abundant fruitfulness and woven into Mary's garment, also reminds us of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We do not keep them for ourselves; they are meant to be shared, poured out for the wholesomeness of the Church and all her children.
The lowly strawberry sends its runners quietly along the ground looking for places to attach itself and form a new plant. In our gardens, the strawberry takes patience and work. Its runners must be carefully transplanted to ensure new growth. It is the same with divine gifts. Mary, show us how to cultivate them and share them.
---From Mary's Flowers, by Vincenzia Krymow (with meditations by M. Jean Frisk). (2002).

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Among Women Podcast, episode #4

Last week's show features a look at St. Catherine of Siena (whose feast day it is today!)  Plus a conversation with Dr. Elizabeth Dreyer, and her new book series Called to Holiness for Catholic women.

This week's show should be posted later tonight!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon declines Notre Dame's award and invitation to speak at commencement alongside Pres. Obama

From Proverbs 31: 25- 31.

] Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
[26] She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
[27] She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
[28] Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
[29] "Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
[30] Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
[31] Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Writer's Wednesdays - Esther Burroughs

While this book is for women who may become mentors of other women, in terms of spiritual direction... it has a lot to say to us to all Church members:

In today's world, the best models for many are not their fathers and mothers, but their teachers, coaches, and other outside influences. There is a real need for the church family to choose to become involved in whta has become known as spiritual parenting. Parents in this culture, living a distance from their immediate families, need spiritual parenting. The Church has so much to share, to model, and to use in mentoring.

We are in desparate need of mature women -- I mean mature mentally and spiritually, not physically -- who are willing to show God at work in their lives. Age is not a determining factor.

I have a friend named Beth whose longtime walk with God has been tested in the fires of hurt -- a wayward daughter, a son struggling to find work, another daughter with a metally handicapped child, and a mother with Alzheimer's disease. Her strength through crises and her approachable manner have marked her a woman to call for compassionate counsel. Many women consider Beth their mentor.

Don't let age be an issue. Let life's lessons be the qualifier. Mature women will cultivate love in another woman's life because of the King's presence in her life...

Age is not nearly as important as what you have to give. Mentoring, in many ways, means using the best part of yourself to help another see and become the best they can be. Using what you know and what you have experienced, draw up alongside another woman and work side-by-side with her, teaching her and guiding her as you go!

---Esther Burroughs, A Garden Path to Mentoring. (1997)

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easter Saturday - God's Word to Act On

It is impossible for us not to speak about
what we have seen and heard.

--St. Peter and St. John, Acts 4:20.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

The Quantum Leap, of Days and Years

When you are closer to being 50-something, rather than 40-something, as I am, you start to pay attention to numbers. (And I don’t just mean your weight, your blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers.)

Recently I’ve been reflecting on my 40s, and realized that they had a great many similarities to “the 40s” I’ve encountered in my bible reading and recent spiritual journeying. In other words, they’ve been a real preparation and testing for what God has in store for me next. These days, my personal life is curiously reflecting the liturgical calendar.

But back to the Bible for a moment…

Noah experienced 40 days and nights of rain before the clouds parted. The Hebrew people had 40 years of wandering in the desert before entering the Promised Land. Even Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before his public ministry, not to mention encountering temptation by the devil out there. Am I seeing any patterns here?

Recently, we as a Church have come through 40 days of Lent, in preparation for the celebration of Easter, a liturgical cycle we Catholics repeat annually.

Now, without sharing the annoying details, it is sufficient to say that my life has had its own share of depressing amounts of “rainfall.” At times, there have been extended “desert trials”, and certainly, aimless wandering about.  The devil has even tripped me up a time or two. But, still we press on, right? We hope in God’s promises and his mercies being new every morning. (Cf. Lamentations 3: 21-24.)

This year, my Lent, while fruitful, had me pining for Easter more zealously than in previous years.

Thankfully, at Easter, I had a real experience of Easter joy bursting forth, and breaking out. Like a new era dawning, the Easter renewal I experienced was more than a day… but a new reality… a new beginning timed to this new stage of life that I’m entering… almost reaching 50 and beyond.

Again, something “liturgical” kept my rapt attention:  the Church keeps celebrating the joy of the resurrection long after the Easter candy is gone.  In fact, Eastertide, in the liturgical calendar is a 50-day season – longer than the 40 days of Lent – just to prove a point.

The Catechism tells us “beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light, the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance.” (CCC 1168.)

This Easter light and joy is ever unfolding and expansive, as we find in the Scripture readings associated with this part of the liturgical cycle.  We note the Holy Spirit works overtime to expand and transform the Church from a small band of disciples to a tour de force within the Roman Empire.

This joy is meant to expand our own lives as well, transforming us by the power of the Holy Spirit being unleashed in new ways.

The Catechism continues, “Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the ‘Feast of feasts,’ the ‘Solemnity of solemnities,’ just as the Eucharist is the ‘Sacrament of sacraments’….  The mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.” [Bold emphasis mine.] (CCC 1169.)

Got that?  The power of the Resurrection permeates and energizes our “old” time.

Through Jesus’ glorious redemption of us, the old is passing, the new is coming. What’s “old” about us, paradoxically, is being changed.

There is a quantum leap being made in my life these days.

From a time of planting to a time of harvesting… from a time of preparation to a time of fulfillment… from a time of waiting and wondering, to a time of gratefully experiencing the ride as well as the ultimate destination. 

My children are older now. (I have two in their 20s, the other 16.) The “Mommy” I once was is morphing into the mature “Mom” I am. Indeed, the shift is on, and with it, entire new avenues are opening up in my life, giving me more time for prayer, for pursuing new passions, and for work and ministry of a different sort from my Mommy years.

I am just beginning to savor the joy of life as it expands into my 50s. Okay, call it maturity, or hormones, or settling into my own skin.  But I call it joy. If fifty is the “downside of the hill” in our youth-entrenched culture, I ought to be picking up speed!

Here’s one more encouraging thought.

I often find the number “50” mentioned in the scripture referencing “jubilee.”  The Jubilee came after 50 years.  It was a time of deep joy and blessing, of freedom and forgiveness.

Our liturgical calendar places the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Church at Pentecost at 50 days past Easter.

Our society celebrates 50th anniversaries of marriages and birthdays. Even businesses make note of such a milestone. 

I’m still pondering all these things. I’m not making any grand predictions about what’s coming next in my life. But I am looking to embrace this next phase of life, and mothering, as the phase that interprets everything in terms of the radiant light of Easter, and looks eagerly for what the Holy Spirit is up to. Everything, every day, has more meaning when seen in that light. 

You may think, what’s the big deal?  Isn’t this the normal course of life for a Christian?

Well, let’s just say, yes, I knew this before, but now I know it.  The one thing maturity teaches you is that there is a heck of a difference between knowing something intellectually, and knowing something by experience.

Lord Jesus, let me live these 50 days, and all my 50s, with Easter joy: jubilant, radiant, and with deep gratitude for all that’s in store!  Amen! Alleluia!

©2009 Patricia W. Gohn


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Easter Friday - God's Word to Act On

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name
under heaven given to the human race
by which we are to be saved.

--St. Peter, Acts 4:12.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Thursday: God's Word to Act On

[Jesus said:]

Touch me and see...

You are witnesses of these things.

(Luke 24: 39; 48.)

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Wednesday: God's Word to Act On

They urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.

With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

(Luke 24: 29-31.)

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Writer's Wednesday - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Who is Jesus to Me?

Jesus is the Word made Flesh.

Jesus is the Bread of Life.

Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross.

Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass for the sins of the world and mine.

Jesus is the Word - to be spoken.

Jesus is the Truth - to be told.

Jesus is the Way - to be walked in.

Jesus is the Light - to be lit.

Jesus is the Life - to be lived.

Jesus is the Love - to be loved.

Jesus is the Joy - to be shared.

Jesus is the Sacrifice - to be offered.

Jesus is the Peace - to be given.

Jesus is the Bread of Life - to be eaten.

Jesus is the Thirsty - to be satiated.

Jesus is the Naked - to be clothed.

Jesus is the Homeless - to be taken in.

Jesus is the Sick - to be healed.

Jesus is the Lonely -to be loved.

---Mother Teresa of Calcutta, A Fruitful Branch on the Vine, JESUS. (2000).

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Among Women, Episode #3, now available here and at iTunes.

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Easter Tuesday - God's Word to Act On

Jesus said to [Mary of Magdala].... "Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and what he told her.

(John 20 17-18.)

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Monday: God's Word to Act On

God raised this Jesus;
of this we are all witnesses.

--St. Peter (Acts 2: 32)

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Sunday, April 12, 2009


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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Holy Women and the Empty Tomb

My latest offering for your meditation this Easter...

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Divine Mercy Novena starts today

Jesus, I trust in You!

Go to the link above for everything you always wanted to know about this devotion to the Divine Mercy, and to pray the 9- Day novena that starts today!

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Writer's Wednesday -- Benedict J. Groeschel, CFR

Prayer Before Mass

O Lord Jesus Christ, how am I to prepare myself to attend that holy sacrifice which you began at your Last Supper and which you consumated on Calvary? That eternal Eucharist begun in sorrow and agony continues, not simply to the end of the world but throughout all eternity. It is the eternal act of obedience and love that you as the head of our whole human race offered to the Trinity, even to yourself in your divinity. These mysteries are completely beyond me. Yet I know they are true because you reveal them. Soon, in the person of the priest, a poor human being, your divine words will be spoken and each of us at this Mass will be lifted beyond this place and be part of the heavenly choirs and the eternal divine liturgy. How dare we think that we, creatures of earth, could participate in such a thing! We believe it because this liturgy began here on earth. From the very first moment of your existence as a human being, the altar was prepared, the linens were laid on the altar. Throughout your earthly life, you labored in the preaching of the Gospel and in calling the faithful to prayer. Then at the supreme moment of your earthly existence, you offered yourself in total obedience and sacrifice to the Father for all the world. Your glorious Resurrection and Ascension point beyond the cross and beyond the tomb, and remind us that this Eucharist is not only a memorial but an everlasting participation in your divine and heavenly worship as priest of the new creation.

O Lord, give me your Holy Spirit that my heart may be lifted up in this Mass, that I may be in one of the choirs that join with you, that I may take my place prayerfully and in reverent attention with the billions of saints, with the great choirs of angels, with the army of holy souls on their pilgrimage and with all the devout and struggling Christians in the world. Let this Mass be the beginning of a new moment in my life, one step closer to you. May I be encouraged by this sacred meal to know that you will go with me in the wilderness of life, that you will sustain me that I may, in fact, not only pray as one of those united to you, but that I may live and act so that it may indeed be true that I live, no longer I, but you live in me. Amen.

---Prayer from Father Benedict Groeschel, Praying in the Presence of Our Lord.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Among Women Podcast, episode #2

This week features conversation about Mary, the Blessed Mother, and the spirituality of being a mother, among other things...

Go to AmongWomenPodcast.com or subscribe to "Among Women" in iTunes!

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

"Among Women" launched as a new podcast

Yours truly as host and producer. 
Use the link above, or find "Among Women" at iTunes.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Tom Allen and others

But why did Jesus have to die?

...death is not just the consequence of our sin, because in sinning, we turn our backs on God, the Source of our life. Jesus took the consequences of our sin--death--in our place.

As horrific as Jesus' death was, we need to appreciate a fundamental truth of human existence: authentic love involves sacrifice. Love involves the total giving of self. Love can even mean "[laying] down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13). So there is transcendent meaning in sacrifice anbd suffering. If endured for the good of others, it is truly sanctifying and salvific. To a world that tries to avoid discomfort of any sort, this seems ridiculous. Instead, it is just one of the countless examples of how the way of Truth runs counter to human expectations. This, by the way, has always been the case. The first people to hear the story of Jesus were just as struck as we are today at the strangeness of it. St. Paul wrote 2000 years ago, "For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18).

---A Guide to the Passion; 100 Questions about The Passion of the Christ.

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