Women in the Bible

Deborah, Mary Magdalene and Esther are depicted in stained-glass windows.(CNS/Crosiers)

Deborah, Mary Magdalene and Esther are depicted in stained-glass windows.(CNS/Crosiers)

Don’t miss our feature, just posted this afternoon on our synod page, on women in the Bible. As the story notes, numerous women from the Old and New Testaments appear in the Bible as inspiring examples of faith and leadership.

This was only one piece in a series of stories we offered to our clients in connection with this month’s world Synod of Bishops in Rome. Scroll down the synod page for news from the gathering and other stories we wrote highlighting the importance of the Bible in the life of the church.

And don’t miss the continuing installments in our Bible blog. Coming next week: Luke.

There’s power in numbers

When people feel disconnected and that their concerns are going unaddressed, history shows they can be a prime target for an organizing campaign. But that only works if they want to be organized and begin to take steps to right an injustice they are confronting.

A CNS report on community organizing looks at one campaign to address predatory lending in Cleveland in portraying how a campaign works.

Campaigns to right a wrong are won at the grass-roots level. It takes commitment and dedication and local leadership, as any community organizer knows. Organizers such as Sarah Nolan of the San Francisco Organizing Project and Jenelle Dame of the East Side Organizing Project in Cleveland know it’s not their job to push an agenda forward. An organizer’s job is to help train leaders in the community. It’s up to those leaders to work with their neighbors, who already know very well what wrong they want to correct.

Organizing campaigns can take place just about anywhere even though most efforts take place in low- and moderate-income communities. Face it, it’s those communities who have the most grievances with society.

Catholic San Francisco reports on one such campaign involving support for Proposition 8 to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Not every campaign will be successful. Victories, as community groups like to call them, come only when members welcome and accept a common goal and work in unison to achieve it. Campaigns are just as dependent on a well-developed strategy — at times developed to garner attention or even embarass their target. At the same time, plans must be flexible enough to change when roadblocks appear or new facts are learned.

But the key to any campaign revolves around numbers. With numbers comes power. With power comes influence. And with influence comes success.

John Paul II: The DVD collection

Pope John Paul II embraces a child at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square in 2000. (CNS photo from Reuters)

Pope John Paul II embraces a child at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square in 2000. (CNS photo from Reuters)

VATICAN CITY — It was 30 years ago that the College of Cardinals stunned the world by electing a non-Italian, Pope John Paul II. Now, scenes from his 26+ years as supreme pontiff are being offered in a special 30th anniversary DVD collection by the Vatican Television Center.

It’s worth checking out. In collaboration with HDH Communications, the Vatican is offering a 5-DVD set titled, “John Paul II – The pope who made history” at the discounted price of €41.99 (about $57). The Vatican’s other DVD sets on John Paul II are also being discounted by 30 percent for the next month.

CTV, the Vatican’s television operation, has an immense archive of video, which make these DVDs unique. The sample clip on their Web site, which runs three and a half minutes, includes some of the image highlights of Pope John Paul’s pontificate — focusing on his travels around the world and the human side of the papacy.

The DVD anniversary set shows the pope in prayer, joking with young people, encountering indigenous families, visiting a Syrian mosque, skiing and making a pilgrimage through the Holy Land. Of course, that only skims the surface. The DVDs confirm that, in many ways, his was truly a pontificate made for modern media.

CNS Bible Blog: Ruth, Chapter 2 – Love and integrity

By Uta Sievers
Special to Catholic News Service

I sat down with the Book of Ruth and started reading Chapter 2. Following what is described as an Ignatian method for reading and praying with the Scriptures, I imagine myself as a character in the story.

I am Boaz. The potent one. I know who I am, I know what I have. I count my blessings and give thanks to God every day. But I am not young anymore and I have been waiting for something to happen. When I watch over my slaves, I pray. When I walk my fields, when I touch my gold, I pray. Sometimes I gently ask, sometimes I howl in pain and longing, sometimes I whisper under my breath, sometimes I rage in frustration. I am asked to wait; the time will come.

She is not a girl anymore. She arrived yesterday and I already know everything about her. Ruth had been married for 10 years. Now she is widowed. What she has done makes my heart beat faster: left everything out of love for her mother-in-law. She is a passionate one. One who follows a dream. Maybe the foreigners’ dreams are bigger than ours. How far have I ever walked for a dream?

Someone will have to marry her, that’s the law. It will be a bit of a haggle since I’m not first in line. She is on offer, though, and I can be the buyer.

I get all confused when she takes the initative. She just lies there at my feet at night, offering freely what I thought I had to buy dearly. I tremble. Then I remember how she said, when we first met: “You have comforted me with your consoling words; would indeed that I were a servant of yours!”

Does she feel what I feel? Or is she doing what she has to do to get a husband, any husband? How will I ever know?

As I step out of the story, I pray for all those who have to do whatever it takes to get by. Who find themselves in situations and systems not of their own making, and still make the best of it. That they may find love and understanding, and keep their integrity.

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