Confession: I have been really struggling in my prayer life recently, especially when it comes to in reading Sacred Scripture. I’ve been wanting to do a Monday reflection for a long time about the importance of knowing the gospel as Catholics and how fulfilling it is and how much it has changed my life, and it truly has, but I’d feel hypocritical talking about it when I am currently not as dedicated to reading it as I should be. Yesterday in the second reading St. Paul tells us to, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving make your request known to God.” (Phil. 4:6) I was literally sitting in mass thinking that it has been too long since I’ve read scripture and how much it augments my prayer life when I’m actively reading it and Jesus was reminding me how much I need Him in my life.
I have been pretty stressed out recently, mostly because I overcommitted myself this year to too many things and too many people, and because of that, while my daily rosary and mass schedule are still going strong, I haven’t prioritized sitting down and actually listening to Christ and His Word. It was through this reading that Jesus opened my eyes to the fact that my anxiety is stemming from the fact that I haven’t taken the time to actually sit with Him and listen to His will. I’m anxious because I am trying to figure things out myself. And, while Jesus speaks to each of us in a unique way there is a universality in scripture. There is always something that we can get from scripture.In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it states that “Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, His one Utterance in whom He expresses Himself completely.” How insanely beautiful is that! Through scripture God is speaking His love into our heart; He is telling us the greatest love story of all time. One that puts any Hallmark movie to shame. It is God’s greatest gift to us “because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ” If we profess this to be true, which as a church we do, then why is it that so many bibles go unopened, mine included?
I’m sick and tired of the stereotype that Catholics don’t know their own bible, and worse of all I hate when it’s true, especially when our entire mass is created around it, but it is so hard to get into reading it and sometimes it literally makes zero sense to me. For example, in 2 Kings 2:23 it literally says smalls boys came up to a prophet and said, “Go away baldy, go away baldy” and then the prophet cursed them and sent two ‘she-beasts’ to tear apart the 42 boys. Like WHAT?! Also, if you are anything like me then you have tried multiple times to start “reading” the whole Bible by starting from Genesis 1:1 and then within one or two chapters give up completely.
So, what can we do to not only get in the habit of reading scripture but also help us to understand it? The first thing I definitely recommend is doing Lectio Divina with the daily readings, which you can find on USCCB’s website! If you do not know what Lectio Divina is, no fear because I just discovered it last year… It’s the most amazing tool to help you, or a group, read and reflect on any passage in the bible. First, read through the passage once and then take time in the silence to reflect on what God could be saying to you through the passage, and then read it again. Don’t go into this expecting lightning to come down and Jesus to speak His will into your heart. Be ready to sit in silence and be comfortable knowing that the first, or even second time, might not be fruitful. After you’ve read the passage a second time then sit down and either talk to the person you are with about it or take the time to journal what Jesus has spoken into your heart and what stood out to you.
Lectio Divina is absolutely amazing, and it takes a couple of times before you start seeing the fruits of it, but if that isn’t for you then the next thing I’ve found is doing bible studies or reading reflections, with online Christian blogs and companies who have already written reflections for you to read. My favorite has to be Blessed is She. If you sign up for their email list you will get an email every morning with the daily readings and a reflection that one of their writers has done. Some of the most insightful prayers I’ve had has been from one of those reflections. Blessed is She also has reflective journals for different liturgical seasons and their new advent prayer journal, “In the Beginning” was just put up for sale today and it is absolutely beautiful! Another source you can use are She Reads Truth and they have so so many different amazing Bible studies and reflections specifically for women that you can use for free! I’m actually doing their Book of Esther study that starts October 30th and you are all welcomed to join me.Here is the deal… I know for a fact that I do not read scripture enough. I know that my humanity craves the Word of God and yet for some reason I always forget to make it a priority in my life. Some of you reading this may have the whole New Testament memorized, some of you may be like me and try to read it at the least a couple times a week, and some of you may not read anything at all, and that is totally fine. God is asking you, wherever you are at, to go deeper in your relationship with Him and to be in a relationship with someone you need to listen to them. If I want to be friends with God then I can’t just constantly talk and ask for things and never actually listen to what He has to say. It’s like any relationship that exists here on this earth. If I want it to be a good one then I have to give Him the time and as I get back into the swing of things I know reading His word is how I can do that.
Dive into Scripture! Read His Word and seek His truth. He has so much He wants to tell you, if only you listen.