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Elizabeth Tomlin shares an excerpt from a reflection published in the Living the Word Catholic Women's Bible, new from Ave Maria Press.

Have you ever met someone who traverses adversity without losing hope? Miriam is such a person, and she imparts hope to us. Born into slavery in Egypt, Miriam was the older sister of Moses and Aaron. Her name is derived from the Hebrew words for “bitterness” or “rebellion,” and it may have reflected a cultural disposition toward bitterness because of Pharaoh’s maltreatment—including his attempted genocide of the Hebrew children, which Miriam and others actively resisted (Ex 1:15–16). In so doing, holy women such as Miriam “kept alive the hope of Israel’s salvation,” as the Catechism notes (CCC 46). 

As a young girl, Miriam watched her mother, Jochebed, wade into the Nile River to place baby Moses in the reeds, relinquishing him to the ebb and flow of its waters and hoping to save him from Pharaoh’s cruelty. Such a traumatic scene would have challenged anyone’s hope. When Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the baby, Miriam advocated for Moses, recommending her own mother as Moses’s wet nurse. No doubt her hope helped Miriam to act courageously as she put Moses and herself at the mercy of Pharaoh’s daughter. 

Israel remained enslaved in Egypt for eighty years after Moses’s birth. It took ten plagues, including the death of every Egyptian firstborn, to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. When Moses finally led Israel out of Egypt, Miriam was present. She walked on dry land through the midst of the Red Sea and looked on while the waters engulfed Pharaoh’s horsemen and chariots.




As Moses led the Israelites toward their new life of freedom, Miriam led her people in praise. Miriam didn’t just praise the Lord with song or clapping; she took out a “timbrel”—that is, a tambourine! In fact, “all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing” (Exodus 15:20). This detail reinforces Miriam’s hope in God’s promise of deliverance. On a night when the Israelites fled so quickly that they “took their dough before it was leavened” (Exodus 12:34), Miriam found time to pack her tambourine. She believed in God’s promise. 

Hope is infectious. When we spend time with hopeful people like Miriam, our own hope increases. No doubt her example inspired the other women to pack their tambourines in anticipation of praising God from the far side of the Red Sea.

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Hope is infectious. When we spend time with hopeful people, our own hope increases. #CatholicMom


Living the Word Bible


What makes the new Living the Word Catholic Women's Bible different from other Bibles for women? It includes almost 400 pages of special features created for women by women—more than 40 scholars, teachers, religious, authors, ministers, and speakers—such as Leah Darrow, Sarah Christmyer, Johnnette Benkovic Williams, and Sr. Maria Kim-Ngân Bùi, FSP—who come from a variety of backgrounds and reflect the diversity of the Catholic faith. Nine of these writers have a connection to Catholic Mom and have been sharing their gifts with our readers for quite some time.

The stunning beauty of the hardcover Living the Word Catholic Women’s Bible also makes it stand out among its peers. The extraordinary and elegant design enhances the reading experience by connecting various features throughout the text including 50 profiles of women in the Bible, 97 Living in the Light of Faith essays, and questions for reflection and journaling.

Purchase your copy of the Living the Word Catholic Women's Bible at a special price: only $59.95 with FREE shipping when you use coupon code CMBIBLE23 at checkout at AveMariaPress.comThis code is good through March 31, 2023.




To learn more about the Living the Word Catholic Women’s Bible, visit AveMariaPress.com/living-the-word. You can also join the Living the Word Bible community on Instagram @livingthewordbible and listen to the new Living the Word Bible Podcast with host Sarah Christmyer wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Sarah Christmyer, editor of the Living the Word Catholic Women's Bible, appeared on a recent episode of the Catholic Momcast. 

Listen to the podcast interview with Sarah Christmyer

Copyright 2023 Elizabeth Tomlin
Images: Ave Maria Press
This excerpt from the Living the Word Catholic Women’s Bible is reprinted with permission of the publisher, Ave Maria Press.