Blessed Are You Book Club: Chapter 9, Joy

 

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 Kelly Wahlquist

“Blessed are those who procrastinate but trust in the Lord, for theirs is a last minute inspirational influx of wisdom from the Holy Spirit.”

If you haven’t guessed already, that opening sentence isn’t in the Bible. It is part personal confession, part hopeful wish, and much too often a dire prayer of mine. You see, though I gobbled up Melanie Rigney’s Blessed Are You moments after reading a raving review on Amazon and ordering it with my “1-Click order” button … And though I was overcome with joy when Melanie agreed to let Blessed Are You be our “Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club” book … And though I could hardly wait to write my reflection when Sarah Damm told me I was assigned to the chapter on joy—I procrastinated.

Thus, moments before a deadline I found myself desperately praying to the Holy Spirit, as I flipped to chapter nine, yellow highlighter in hand. Turning to page 129, I was shocked to see the first half of the first sentence had already been the target of my bright yellow pen. It was then that the Holy Spirit once again answered my prayer. (He never ceases to astonish!) For at that moment, I recalled why only the words “Rejoice and be glad” were aglow. Those words had stopped me in my tracks the first time I read them. I couldn’t read anything past “Rejoice and be glad,” because the moment my eyes hit those words a song filled my mind. The song was Blest Are They by David Haas. (If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend listening to it now, before finishing this post. Go ahead. I’ll wait.)

As Blest Are They played in my mind, I couldn’t help but think of the instant joy I always feel when I hear a choir sing it. The words, the music, the blending of the harmonies, the comforting flowing rhythm—each aspect perfectly comes together to create a song that fills me with an interior peace, that without fail gives rise to an exterior happiness. Simply put, that song brings me joy.

In her final chapter, Melanie “almost” apologizes for not listing all the saints as an example of every Beatitude; a gesture that made me smile. What I love most about Melanie’s humble almost-apology is her simple explanation: “I realized there was an aspect of every women’s life that could have worked with each verse. I simply chose the one I felt, in prayer and meditation, would resonate with most of you.”

In bringing her writing to prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, Melanie has given us a well-orchestrated symphony made up of women who, just like us, struggled on the road to holiness. She has shown us how each persevered in one Beatitude, but at the same time grew in the others. How encouraging to know that as we (perhaps) strive to perfect one Beatitude, we are naturally growing in the others!

Thank you, Melanie, for listening to the Holy Spirit and for sharing your wisdom and your heart with us. Above all, thank you for helping us to see, through the stories of our sisters in faith, that God does not procrastinate or hold back His supreme blessedness from us until we have achieved perfection. Thank you for helping us see that we are blessed and as sisters in Christ, we truly have reason to rejoice and be glad!

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. What is the first Beatitude you remember speaking to your heart?
  2. Today, what verse of Our Lord’s “Sermon on the Mount” most resonates with you?
  3. Looking over your life, can you see how living one Beatitude has caused you to grow in the others? What Beatitudes were they?
  4. Bonus Question: How is God blessing you today?

YOUR TURN: Below in the comments box, please share your thoughts, inspirations, and reflections on Chapter 9, and/or your responses to any of these questions. Also, as we wrap up this wonderful book, please share your thoughts on our “Read Between the WINEs” Online Summer Book Club.

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This concludes our Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club. Thank you for reading, pondering, and praying with Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith with us. To learn about additional book clubs that WINE will be offering soon, please visit our book club page.

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Kelly Wahlquist

Written by

Kelly Wahlquist is a Catholic speaker, author and evangelist. She is the founder of WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, and the Assistant Director for the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute in the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis. Kelly a contributing writer for CatholicMom.com and The Integrated Catholic Life. Kelly travels the country speaking to all on various topics that inspire us to live the New Evangelization, but has a special love for speaking at Catholic women’s conferences. She resides in Minnesota with her husband, Andy, and their three children, and is active in their parish, Holy Name of Jesus.

Enter the Conversation...

8 Responses to “Blessed Are You Book Club: Chapter 9, Joy”
  1. Linda Hahn says:

    I feel most blessed that I was invited to take part in this book club. I learned a lot from reading about the lives of the women who were used to demonstrate how to live each beatitude, and thought, like Melanie, that each lived fully all beatitudes. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

  2. I agree Linda! It has truly been a blessing to share the thoughts, stories and ideas that resulted from reading “Blessed Are You” with women all around the world. The insights of others has been both encouraging and inspirational. Thank you to all who have participated in our Read Between the WINEs book club this summer. May we all be abundantly blessed by what we have learned, and may it help us all live our faith with renewed confidence, with conviction and hope.

  3. Chris says:

    This summer book club was so good. I like the comments on pages 129-130, this summarized Jesus’s teaching of the beatitudes and the reason we spent the summer reading discussing this topic — ” Each (beatitude) …calls us to let go of the parts of ourselves that are displeasing to God and injurious to ourselves …today. That’s why Jesus taught them in the present tense.” Didn’t think of it this way before. I’ve been praying for understanding and wisdom as I read the Bible and here is an example for Matthew 5:1-12.😃 Thanks!

  4. Debby Giusti says:

    Being part of this book club has touched me deeply. I love how we are all “one Body in Christ!” We’re sisters and followers of the Lord no matter where we live, and we’ve been able to connect through cyberspace because of Melanie’s delightful book and WINE! Thanks to all who made this study possible…certainly Melanie because of what she’s written, but also each person who left a comment or took part in the study. God bless you all. You’ve enriched my life!

  5. OK, so I am tearing up and getting shivers at the same time. Isn’t sisterhood fantastic?

    So Kelly… you know we really are twin sisters of different parents. I listened to that song ALL THE TIME I was writing this book.

    I cannot believe we’re almost done. Thanks to all the WINE sisters and book club participants. You have enriched my life in ways I cannot express. You are all in my prayers, and I look forward to being in the online book club myself for the next selection. I do hope you found at least one of our wonderful women saints whom you now number among your girlfriends… for in Heaven they remain on a mission to help us draw closer to the Lord.

    Love, Melanie

  6. Shirley says:

    I am a little late in responding, but was out of town most of the week. I am a first timer ‘online book clubber’, and I must say that I most enjoyed reading each and every one of the responses to each of the book chapters. I feel so blessed to have participated, and look forward to the next booki club. We sing “Blessed Are They” very often in church and each time it brings me to tears, the song has so much meaning, and provides a review of almost all of the beatitudes in such a beautiful way. Kelly, what a wonderful way to end the book club.

  7. Jody Strnad says:

    Dear Sarah and WINE women!

    Thank you so very much for this beautiful virtual book club and for such a wonderful book to read over the summer! I have never done anything like this and was a little skeptical but I must say we are surrounded by so many beautiful souls who brought so much insight into these 8 beatitudes. Being something that I learned as a child, on the surface seem so simple but after reading this book and reading other’s comments, all I can say is “WOW”! And I was very glad to read the final chapter, all throughout the book I was saying to myself that this saint, blessed, etc. exemplified another beatitude. Thank you for the opportunity to grow in my faith! That was my main reason for joining the book club! Always looking for opportunities to grow in my faith! God bless all of you! Can’t wait to do this again!

    • Sarah Damm says:

      Thank you, Jody! I am so glad you enjoyed the book club. I learned so much about the Beatitudes, too. This content and these special women saints will stay with me for a very long time. Keep in touch with WINE … Hopefully, we will do another online book club in Summer 2017. In the meantime, you can check out other book clubs WINE will be offering in the future by clicking on the “book club” tab from the WINE home page. God bless!