Do you know the Bible? Catholics are often misrepresented as not knowing Holy Scripture – yet the Bible is all around us, in the liturgy and our prayers. Even so, it’s important to make a habit of delving into the Word of God. If you aren’t spending time with the Scriptures on a regular basis, it’s time to start!
“Often we Catholics settle just for the liturgical without soaking ourselves in it daily. And really, both are complementary, both are needed for a proper love of God—both the personal, quiet soaking in Scripture and then the communal liturgical celebration and proclamation of Scripture,” explained Fr. Joseph Illo.
What are some ways we can immerse ourselves in Scripture?
- Read it front to back. “I suggest one chapter a day,” says Fr. Joseph. Pick a time of day and make a habit to read a chapter each day, starting with Genesis.
- Liturgy of the Hours. A beautiful prayer and meditation that priests, religious, and some laypeople practice several times each day. “That’s a really good way to keep yourself soaked and immersed in the Bible on a daily basis.”
- Pray the Rosary! Wait, what? But that’s a prayer, it’s not Scripture, one might say. “All of the mysteries are from the Bible,” explains Fr. Joseph. And the prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary) come straight from Scripture!
- Get to Mass. The Sunday Mass readings make their way through the Bible every three-year cycle. If you attend daily Mass, you’ll hear even more Scripture. The Mass contains at least two or three readings and a psalm, while the Eucharistic prayers are also based in Scripture.
- Lectio Divina. Meditation on the Scripture readings that will allow you to gain greater knowledge and understanding of the Bible while opening your heart to how God wishes to speak to you through his Word.
These and other ways of Scripture study and reading will open you up to a deeper faith. Fr. Joseph recommends finding a spot in your home to give the Bible a place of honor, perhaps on a home altar or on your bedside table. Keep it open and use it frequently.
Donna, a caller to The Inner Life®, says that she left the Catholic Faith for a Protestant church when she was younger. She found her way back through the Holy Scripture. “The habit of reading the Scriptures almost every day combined with all the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church plus the sacraments was a blessing! … As I read the Word every day, whether Proverbs or the Gospels or whatever, I always feel immersed like I jumped in a pool of warm water and I’m swimming around. But I’m communing with God and he’s communing with me—it’s not like reading a book or a book about the Bible. It’s God and me having our morning meeting.”
The Holy Bible is a massive book and it’s a daunting task to sit down with the intention to read the entire thing. As with any other goal, you have to start somewhere. “The main thing is to get the book open, to actually read it. You start with just opening it and where your eyes land—that’s the Word of God for you right then. It’s very important to have a structured reading as well … but just open the book. Get the book open,” said Fr. Illo.
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