Among Women

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[Note: This is a repost of yesterday’s. I decided to divide it into two posts – one the actual reflection on the readings and the second to come later this week on the art project and what each item means to me and to the overall design.]

Today was the second of four weeks spent reflecting on women in the Gospel and the Gospel Women in our midst. We begin each week with a prayer, and are given a glimpse of the two women we will be reading about and reflecting on as the week goes by. We think about last week’s two women and then create art as reflection of them. Or, as I hash-tagged it on Instagram, #artastheology.

I often talk about how I use writing in many ways, including as therapy, and as theology, reflection, meditation. I would claim myself not to be an artist, but in the few retreats that I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of led by artist, Brother Mickey McGrath, I’ve discovered a calmness from the act of coloring, and that has led to simple drawings, tracings, and copying. You can see some of my work on the pages of my website. I’ve tried to stop demeaning my art as an example to my son, who has the potential to be a true artist. He has the talent for it.

We’re supposed to reflect on them through the week, but it wasn’t until this morning that I connected to the Bent Over Woman and the Syrophoenician Woman. I sometimes have trouble connecting to parables and the abstract as well as picturing myself in ancient Jerusalem. I can also see things a little too literally. I’m not bent over, so what do I have in common with her? We don’t really know anything else about her.

But I recognized myself in her quiet; her being there, but not there for anyone else, unnoticeable, unimportant. Jesus doesn’t wait until he’s called upon; he takes the initiative, he heals her, and that’s all. It’s done.

With the Syrophoenician woman, she is there for her daughter. Jesus tells her no. She’s not one of his people, and he’s not going to help her. She talks back to him. She tells him, no, you will listen to me. She stays polite, she makes her point, and he rethinks his position. Maybe he admires her persistence, her love for her child; maybe even her impertinence.

This shows me once again that we have the ability to see ourselves in these women. We hear their stories but do we really hear them? How long does it take for us to listen?

There are women throughout the Gospel. Jesus surrounded himself with women; they were his disciples. Mary Magdalene was the first person to report the Good News. Most of the women in the Gospels aren’t named; only a handful of them, and each of them, named and unnamed,  have something to teach us, to show, to tell.

These four weeks are opening our group up to us as Gospel women and reminding us of the women in our midst who embody the Gospel, Jesus’ words, His Word, and his example.

When we were “dismissed” to begin our art project, we were introduced to the items we could choose from. How will our art reflect the two readings (The Bent-Over Woman and The Syrophoenician Woman) and how are we reflected in them and with the art items?

Piles of letters, feathers, fabric, words, magazines. All things that look like nothing until we choose what appeals to us, and make it into something of our very own. No formal direction, no preconceptions, just letting the spirit work.

One of the items I chose were puzzle pieces; they were there to represent that everything fits together,  it is all connected and interconnected, and after I decided on them, I remembered my words on my prayer bead: Connect, Interconnect.

It really is all connected.

[NOTES: The Bent-Over Woman (Luke 13:10-17), The Syrophoenician Woman (Mark 7:24-30)]

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