Recently, our Holy Father Pope Francis declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time as a weekend to celebrate the Word of God. As a lifelong Catholic, Scripture was never really stressed in my family’s life. We didn’t pray together with it. We didn’t study it or really talk about it. We certainly knew popular phrases and the general timeline of events in the life of Jesus, but overall, didn’t particularly understand it. This isn’t to throw my family under a spiritual bus. It is simply the way we were raised. We knew the Our Father and Catechism, but Scripture was never the priority.
The Church (capital “C” which means the Church as a whole, not just Visitation), desires us to be in love with Scripture. This means not to simply read it, but to fall in love with it. I think most people simply don’t know where to start. So this begs the question: How do you fall in love with something? Courage. Courage to put yourself into a place that you don’t know what the outcome will be. We will never be able to fall in love with Scripture without first realizing that we will not be able to understand everything that Scripture contains. It is the Divine Word of God. Because it is Divine, that means that our finite minds cannot fully understand the infinite message of the Bible. That is okay. Our linear minds crave a way to understand the world in which we live in straight lines - point A to point B. However, the Bible doesn’t work that way. Even our Sunday readings are weird to our linear minds. Our first reading is generally from the Old Testament that seems like it is all over the place chronologically. Then the next reading is from the New Testament which is after Jesus dies and rises from the dead. Finally, the Gospel goes back to the time when Jesus was walking on the earth. This progression is not exactly linear.
God’s Word (and words come from our mind) is not like our mind. He sees everything and knows everything. He has our salvation (which is simply eternal life with our Father) in His mind. His Words lead us closer and closer to Him. This doesn’t have to be linear or chronological. Think about when you were a child and didn’t quite understand everything your parents were trying to do to raise you. They had the larger picture in mind. They had your well being in mind. And you trusted them (sometimes reluctantly). Our Father has our well being in mind. Not praying with His Words would be similar to not listening to our parents when we were young. Saint Jerome once said “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” And using this logic, it makes sense. If we don’t spend time with Scripture, we ignore the relationship with our Father through Christ.
It is never too late to have a relationship with our Father through Scripture. It can be daunting, but have courage! He speaks to us through His Word. Where do you start? Start with the understanding that His Word is beyond our understanding and that is okay. Definitely don’t start with Leviticus or the laws laid out in the Old Testament because that will not be good. Start with Mark, the first Book written chronologically in the New Testament. Start praying with it and listening to His Word. All of Scripture is a love story - a story between your Father and you through His Son. How do you fall in love with Scripture? Start by listening to your Father tell you how much He loves you in the sacrifice of the Son.
May the Lord give you His peace,