Many people are often understandably intimidated o... Read more
Feed the Flame: Read the Bible
Catholics are notoriously bad about spending time reading the Bible. And really, it is understandable in a lot of ways. The Bible is a big book. There're a lot of obscure references, hard-to-pronounce names, and long lists of ancient peoples. Sections are lists of rules and regulations for the liturgical worship of the Old Covenant. It's not the most reader-friendly book in the world.
On the other hand, the Church teaches us that this is the Word of God, the inspired and inerrant means through which God ordinarily speaks to humanity. The testimony of the saints and the mystics of the Church repeats again and again that reading the Scriptures prayerfully, meditating on what we read, and allowing it to change our minds and hearts is part of the ordinary Christian life. That way lies sanctity, and when we become holy, we become contagious Christians.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, mediated to us by allowing the Word of God to inhabit our hearts and minds, we are transformed, made receptive to the graces of the sacraments and all the opportunities for holiness that come our way every day. We are prepared to exercise the merciful outlook, described by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, in Consoling the Heart of Jesus. We are empowered to live mercifully, as Fr. Gaitley describes in 'You Did it To Me'. Reading Scripture on a regular basis with prayer and openness to the working of the Holy Spirit changes a person, for we are assured:
Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart — Heb 4:12.
The Church celebrates the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist, or the writer of the Gospel of Mark, on April 25. It's a good time to sit down and actually read Mark's Gospel, the shortest of the four biblical Gospels. Begin your reading by asking the Holy Spirit to come and open your mind and heart to the Word of God within the words on the page:
Lord, open our hearts: Let Your Spirit speak to us as we read Your Word.
Take. Read. And be transformed.
Feel overwhelmed by the Bible? Check out Dr. Peter Kreeft's easy-to-read You Can Understand the Bible. For a study version of the New Testament, take a look at Dr. Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch's Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament.