Blessed Are You Book Club: Righteousness, Chapter 4

 

Welcome to WINE’s Summer Book Club! We are reading and discussing Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith by Melanie Rigney. We’re so happy you are joining us! We pray this book club will bless you and give you tangible ways to live the Beatitudes in your daily lives. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments section, throughout our time together.

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By Debby Giusti

I daresay that most of us taking part in the WINE Summer Book Club probably consider ourselves ordinary people living basic, everyday lives. Chances are we won’t start any religious communities or travel to far-flung destinations to spread the Gospel, yet all of us are called to be righteous women who live the Gospel message and build up the Kingdom of God.

The Lord invites us to take the walk of faith with Him, but finding our way can be difficult at times. We become confused by the world in which we live. We hear false prophets who cloud the truth, and we lose sight of the “crown of righteousness” Paul talks about in the fourth chapter of his Second Letter to Timothy—the crown that awaits those who have kept their eyes on Christ.

Melanie Rigney, in her book Blessed Are You, provides inspiring examples of saintly women who have answered Christ’s call to holiness. Like Paul, their hunger and thirst for righteousness led them to a more intimate union with the Lord. These women from different countries and stations in life lived the Beatitudes with their love of God and concern for neighbor.

Laura Montoya Y Upegui overcame social and economic obstacles to minister to the indigenous poor and marginalized in Columbia.

Lord, direct my steps. Let me be your hands and feet and heart so I can reach out to those in need.

Hildegard Burjan—a convert who embraced Christ and the sacramental life of the Church—labored for the rights of women and children in the political arena of pre-World War II Austria and later for the poor and homeless under the auspices of the Caritas Socialis Society, which she founded.

Keep me close to you, Lord, and close to your sacraments. Increase my hunger for the Eucharist, and strengthen me through frequent reception of your Body and Blood.

Miriam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan was a woman of prayer who conquered the spirits of darkness and went on to educate and uplift impoverished women in India in the early 1900s.

Punctuate my day with prayer, Lord, so that everything I do—from the mundane to the sublime—may be done for your honor and glory.

In the 16th century, Teresa of Avila reformed the Carmelite order yet was forced to defend her faith before the Spanish Inquisition. Today, she is heralded as a Doctor of the Church.

To defend my faith, I must first know my faith. Increase my love for scripture, Lord, and teach me your truths through Bible studies, sacred readings, and classes that enhance my understanding of your Church.

The saints mentioned in Chapter 4 serve as role models to emulate. All of them were courageous women who responded to Christ’s call to holiness, discipleship, and evangelization. May their example guide us to hunger and thirst for righteousness in this life so we can achieve the crown of victory in the next.

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. What small changes can I make to turn my heart more fully to the Lord?
  2. In what ways can I spread His message of love and forgiveness in my home, my parish, my community?
  3. Does my sacramental life need a jump start? Can I find time in my busy schedule for daily Mass and Eucharist?
  4. Who are the special women in my own life who have answered Christ’s call to holiness? What can I learn from their example, and how can I follow in their footsteps to draw ever closer to the Lord?

YOUR TURN: Below in the comments box, please share your thoughts, inspirations, and reflections on Chapter 4, and/or your responses to any of these questions.

 About the Author:

debby_gDebby Giusti is a bestselling author of Christian suspense, with more than a half million books in print. Her work has won numerous accolades, including two Daphne du Maurier Awards for Inspirational Suspense and the National Readers’ Choice Award. A lifelong Catholic, Army wife and mother of three, Debby shares the love of Christ, one story at a time. Visit Debby online at DebbyGiusti.com and Facebook.

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Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 5: Mercy. For the complete reading schedule and information about our online book club, visit the Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club page.

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29 Responses to “Blessed Are You Book Club: Righteousness, Chapter 4”
  1. Chris says:

    Setting aside time each day to spend with the Lord started with my commitment to say the Our Father once a day. I then realized that priests are available everyday to teach us through their homilies at daily Mass. This chapter and reflection brought these to mind and are encouraging reminders that it takes time to grow in faith and then share faith with others. Fitting prayer into daily life becomes easier and is a good use of time when I find free time on my mind through the day.

    • Debby Giusti says:

      Chris, I love how you initially made a commitment to pray the Our Father daily. The Lord blesses our desire to know him better, and soon we find new ways to spend time with him. As you mentioned, attending daily Mass is a wonderful way to draw closer.

      • Chris says:

        I really like how you inserted prayers into your comments. It had me stop, think and pray as i was reading along.

        • Debby Giusti says:

          Thanks for mentioning the inserted prayers, Chris. I’ve written A Writer’s Prayer and A Reader’s Prayer. Putting my inner yearnings into a prayer format, helps me identify my real need and dependence on the Lord. 🙂

    • Connie Gray says:

      To commit to saying the “Our Father” daily… what a great and simple way to begin to commit to the Lord. Thank you.

  2. Stephanie says:

    The first two paragraphs spoke to my heart. I often feel “unspecial” and wonder what difference can I make in the world. God often reminds me that He puts people in my path that need to hear the Truth spoken with love through my brokenness.

    • Debby Giusti says:

      Stephanie, you are special! God needs each of us to spread his kingdom. Sometimes we minister with a smile or a friendly hug. At other times, we reach out through a church ministry or community service. God uses everything we offer to him, even our brokenness.

  3. Deb, what a beautiful look at such a wonderful message. The strength of these women and many others should be an example to us of how much good we can do… And every time I want to scowl or frown, I remember Mother Teresa’s “Peace begins with a smile…” and it is so true!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  4. 1. What small changes can I make to turn my heart more fully to the Lord?

    My life has taken an unexpected turn. Within a short period of time my husband’s health has gone from average to poor. I won’t go into all the twists and turns, but we have had a rough time. We moved here in 2004, not because we wanted to, but believing that we were following God’s will to relocate to care for our widowed mothers. We each had a brother much closer, but neither seemed inclined to help.

    We have gone from living in a city to rural life. Both mothers have since died. We have a beautiful farm and home, but it’s rapidly becoming too hard for me to take care of without my husband’s assistance. This week has been especially bad as I had hand surgery and just can’t seem to get anything done and keep the bandage clean. I drove 100 miles yesterday to have it changed and I’ve already managed to get it wet. Today, I plan to change it myself.

    My husband is traveling to the Lung Institute in Nashville for stem cell replacement therapy, – sort of a last ditch effort. I need to learn to trust-lean more on God and not myself. I am not good at relinquishing control. Maybe acknowledging this to all of you will help me let go and let God.

  5. Debby Giusti says:

    Oh, Alice, I’m so sorry for your husband’s declining health and your recent surgery. I know you both have huge hearts of love by the way you reached out to help your mothers. What beautiful examples of Christian love. But now, you’re in need. I’m praying the Lord will ease the cross you are carrying, praying that the stem cell procedure improves your husband’s condition and that you can find people to help you maintain your farm.

    My favorite prayer in time of struggle is “Jesus, I trust in You!”

    Covering you and your husband with prayer…and love!

  6. Linda says:

    After reading Alice’s comments, I have made a note to include “The Vine” readers in my daily prayers. I too have issues with health, but not as severe as hers. I do go to Mass and communion just about every day, and it gives me the strength to be able to deal with the sorrows, remembering that Christ suffered horrible agony, both physically and emotionally as a man. I try to remember this when I get down and offer it up to Him in atonement for my sins. I try to remember that God doesn’t give us more than we can bear. Prayers will continue for Alice and everyone who participates in this ministry.

    • Connie Gray says:

      That is a great idea, Linda, to include the “Vine” readers in my daily prayers

    • Debby Giusti says:

      Linda, I pray each day for all those who have read my work or come in contact with one of my stories or articles. I see God connecting us, no matter where we are physically located in the world. That includes all the “The Vine” readers, as well.

      God honors our prayers. Thank you for praying for me…know that I am praying for you and for all who are in the Summer Book Club!

  7. Connie Gray says:

    Thank you Melanie for your book on these wonderful women saints. It was interesting how you began Chapter 4 on righteousness. “There’s nothing quite annoying as a self-righteous Christian….” I myself have had these thoughts and was interested to read on as you brought up the phrase that Jesus used, “I am thirsty.” and “Jesus thirsts for us.” I liked how you mentioned that, “we can help sate the thirst of others by bringing them to him, flawed as we are, flawed as they are. We do this by living authentic, spirit-filled lives that reflect our journey toward righteousness and by inviting others to do the same regardless of whether they’re family members, longtime adversaries , or complete strangers.” These are definitely actions to strive for.

    Thank you Debby for your reflection. I too liked how you inserted prayers in it. It helped me to pause, think and pray about those saints. I would like to address your discussion point #4.

    4. “Who are the special women in my own life who have answered Christ’s call to holiness? What can I learn from their example, and how can I follow in their footsteps to draw ever closer to the Lord?”

    There are two women in my life that I would like to mention here.

    One is a lifelong Catholic. She has shared her “story” with me, and has then encouraged me to share my gifts with others. I ask Jesus to help me share my story with others like she did with me, and also not be afraid to encourage others in their journey of faith.

    The other woman is a Catholic convert. She is so excited about her love of the Catholic faith. I ask Jesus to help me appreciate all the “treasures” that are available within our faith. I ask Jesus to help me share this joy of our faith with others.

    • Debby Giusti says:

      Connie Gray, you see with the eyes of faith! How wonderful that you can recognize the special gifts God has given to each of your friends. I’m amazed at the number of holy people in my parish. So many are living saints, struggling with serious health issues or family hardship or the loss of a child. They continue to trust Jesus in all things with joy and peace. I am inspired by their faithfulness and love of the Lord.

  8. Colleen says:

    2. In what ways can I spread His message of love and forgiveness in my home, my parish, my community?

    After reading about these 4 women saints, I saw how they embraced their thirst for righteousness right where they were in life. My vocation is motherhood and I can live this beatitude right in my own home. By praying with my children daily, reading scripture, smiling, laughing, loving and teaching my children about Jesus and His Church.

    • Debby Giusti says:

      Colleen, what you wrote was beautiful. Our primary vocation as mothers is to our families. Children grow up so quickly. We need to take time for them when they are young so they mature into strong Christians who love the Lord. Sounds as if you’re doing everything right!

      Hug those little ones for me! They are such a blessing. 🙂

  9. Carla says:

    I have to continually remind myself of trying to make a difference right there in my own home. It can be over whelming though and many times I feel as if I’m not making any difference at all if I don’t see any changes right away. It’s been so helpful to read about the difficulties these saintly women experienced along with their success.

  10. Debby Giusti says:

    Carla, I enjoyed your comment. Sometimes we see the saints through rose colored glasses, so to speak. Yet most of them faced amazing difficulties that needed to be overcome. I believe it’s the daily faithfulness, through the good times and those that aren’t so good, that is the mark of a true follower of Christ. We make mistakes, but we keep moving forward.

  11. Gayleen Copley says:

    Our small group is in Georgetown, TX. We meet on Tuesday evenings at a local mom and pop coffee shop. Last night we discussed what our roles as evangelizers looks like, drawing inspiration from the Saints in chapter 4. The question still remains, “How far must we go for our personal evangelization to be pleasing to God?” We also shared our understandings of righteousness and how we can become that. We loved the discussion questions and chatted about several of them. Our problem seems to be that we have to end our time together when we wish we had hours more to spend discussing our love for Christ! Thank you for providing us this opportunity to come together to share our faith journeys and our love of our Lord with each other.

  12. Alice Klitz says:

    I so agree with you Carla. I pray the small things I do will make a big difference. I want others to always know they are loved and that I care for them, so hope the small acts of kindness here and there help them to know this. Enjoy this book and while I am a bit behind, there are such great comments and thoughts here! Thank you everyone!

  13. 1. My husband was recently diagnoses with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis so I’m forced to make major changes. Most of the jobs that he has done around the house/farm, we either must have hired help for or I must take up the slack. My free time has all but disappeared and my need to depend upon God is crucial.

    2. No one knows what causes IPF, but I’m sure God did not send this. It’s a hard disease and I am trying to roll with the punches. I’m trying to make sure Mike sees his friends when he wants to and is able. I am trying not to feel picked on when he just wants to be alone. I am reaching out of my community with prayer requests and count on their support.

    3. I restated my sacramental life some years ago when I began going to Communion each AM at 7 (M-S). Going to church in the morning really get me up and moving and has added extra time to my day rather than less. It is a special time for me and I look forward to it.

    4. Our church is very small and most everyone in it is special as far as I’m concerned. There is Bernie, who was one of 9 children. Her mother made snack each Sunday for everyone in their church and Bernie has instituted that here. I don’t know where she finds the time, but it brings us together after Mass and gives us time to share the good and the bad in our lives. It’s a binding time.

    Nellie retired from teaching, then went on the road with a book company selling textbooks. After some years of that, she went on to directing the education office at a nearby prison. She is a lector in our church. Her daughter is waiting to hear how she did on her medical boards and will be practicing in Dallas a pediatric pathologist. Natalie was diagnosed at 16 with Krone’s disease. In spite of that she graduated both high school and college with honors. Went to college on a basketball scholarship and never missed a game, no matter how sick she was. She is, like her mother, a special woman of God.
    I am learning from Nellie and Natalie to cope with Mike’s illness. It’s not easy for me: I never was a patient person, but I am trying to focus on God and let him be my guide.

    In spite of our lack of others there are many in our church that I admire and learn from all the time. We are blessed with good people.

  14. Madeline Miller says:

    Each week our book club comes together and meets up with some very extraordinary women. Through their love for Christ and His church they put their faith in action which has given us the opportunity to look deeper into our own faith life. Today we are surrounded with materialism, pride and selfishness, and the culture of death lurks around us everywhere. We are ever so grateful for Laura, Hildegard Mariam and Teresa and have learned through them that we too are called to be saints. Through the Beatitude of Righteousness (to be obedient) Jesus Himself calls us to holiness and so we must make room for Him every day in prayer, and server faithfully the people within family and our parishes. ‘With God nothing is impossible’ and along with the Holy Spirit and Mother Mary, we can put our faith into action and win hearts for Christ. Thank you, Melanie for gifting our lives with these beautiful, strong and courageous women!
    Madeline in Minnesota