By Mau Obon
WHEN I was in college I was amazed at how my Protestant friends were so well versedabout the Bible. I discovered that they don’t just read it daily, they discuss, and memorize passages too. At the same time, I also felt sad, because not all Catholics have this habit of reading the Bible, including me. There are even Catholics who can’t tell a Catholic Bible apart from the Protestant versions. Shockingly, there are also Catholics whodon’t even own a Bible.
I read somewhere that if you will read three chapters a day, you will finish the whole book in a year. I challenged myself to do that. I failed. Reading the Bible from cover to cover for a beginner is not a clever idea. But the experience led me to amazing discoveries.
I finally understood what Hebrews 4:12 means when it said that “the word of God is living and active”. I am a bibliophile, and I have never encountered any book like the Bible. No matter how many times I read it, I always find new insights, and interconnections between its chapters. Sometimes, it felt like that my eyes were being led to notice the answers I needed at that time.
I have to confess though, I didn’t just read the Bible, I prayerfully read the Bible. It was my way of spending time with the Lord. I’m too lazy to attend the daily mass, this is what I do instead. The more I read the Bible, the more I get to know and grow in love with the Lord.
As I said, reading the Bible from cover to cover may not work for the beginner because there are chapters that are motivation killers. For a start you can follow the readings for the daily masses. I receive the daily mass readings with reflections via email for free from www.kerygmafamily.com, you can sign up there. I also downloaded an app called Fantastic Life by Shepherd’s Voice publication.If you want to get a bit serious on studying the Bible, I suggest the app Bible-Catholic Studyby the Ignatius Press.
How to prayerfully read the Bible? I follow the method suggested in the Fantastic Life app, and it’s also found in the www.Kerygmafamily.com website, here it is:
Pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit:
“Father, speak to me. I wish to receive Your Word into my heart. Send forth Your Spirit to me. Reveal Your Face to me today”.
Prayerfully read the Bible passages assigned for the day, and underline words, phrases or verses that strike you.
3. READ DIDACHE
Read your Didache reflection for the day. (If you can’t receive email from kerygmafamily or download the Fantastic Life app, just skip to no.4).
Write your reflections and prayers in response to the Bible passages you have read. (I take a moment of silence and focus on the passages that touched me most, then I begin writing. If you want to grow spiritually, this exercise is highly recommended).
5. PRAY AGAIN
Thank the Lord for His message to you, and pray that you may be able to live it out in your daily life.
“Father, I thank You, Your Word is manna to my spirit. May Your Word that I receive today transform my soul. Make me more like You. Amen.”
Lastly, our spiritual life is also our responsibility. If we can occupy ourselves with fitness or financial challenges at the start of the year, why not try the Bible reading challenge for a change? Pope St. Gregory described the Scripture as:“a river, broad and deep, shallow enough here for the lamb to go wading but deep enough there for the elephant to swim.” Let’s dive in to this challenge, because why not?