Adventure, romance, spirituality, lessons for life. Isn’t this what you look for in a book?
Most books were written by an author thinking of a general audience, but what if I told you that there’s a book whose author wrote it thinking of you?
The Bible is one of the oldest books in history, and nonetheless it continues to be a best-seller decade after decade. Why? Because it is not meant to be a book that narrates what happened 3000 years ago; rather, it is a book that leads us to God in the 21st century. It was written for you!
For some, our exposure to the Bible is limited to what we hear read at Sunday Mass. Many times we don’t pay attention to the readings; often we don’t even understand the complex vocabulary or the interesting examples. “Your teeth are like a flock of ewes to be shorn, which come up from the washing, all of them big with twins, none of them thin and barren.” (Song of Songs 4:2) Is that supposed to be a compliment?
But remember, the Bible is the Word of God; God is speaking to us through this text. This is his “Word” to us. We might not be interested in hearing that our teeth are like sheep, but God has a message for us. The seventy-two books in the Bible are God’s love letter to us.
How can we read this love letter?
1. Ask the Holy Spirit for some help! Just say, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.”
2. Read it. You can do this before going to bed or when you wake up. Do it for ten minutes; it won’t take much time, and you will gain a lot.
3. Study it. Take part in a Bible course, either at your parish or on-line.
4. Learn from it and apply it. Learn from the examples of the Bible figures; for example Moses’ perseverance in the desert, Daniel’s courage before the lions, David’s repentance after his sins. And there is even more to learn from Christ.
Apply this to your life. How can I keep going in my Christian life when things are hard? What would Christ do?
5. Pray about it. There are many methods of prayer. You can set aside some time at the beginning of your day where you pray to the Holy Spirit, read a passage of the Bible, and meditate on it. For example, in John 4, Christ meets the Samaritan woman. You might know the story by heart, but this time read the passage slowly. Did something new strike you? Can you relate to that woman? Are you thirsty for something in life? If you happened to encounter Christ standing by the “well,” what would you tell him?
6. Share it. Read to your kids before they go to bed. Buy an illustrated Bible so they can get into it. Draw the morals or lessons that they can learn from it and ask them to come up with a resolution of how they can live that the next day.
7. Find help. Use a book if you feel you are going nowhere. There are many books with meditations or explanations about the Bible that could help you. There are many good books in http://store.catholic.net/ Search for the word “Lectio Divina.”
If you have a Bible you can get started today! If not, it’s easy to find one. Make sure it is a Catholic Bible since some other editions exclude some of the seventy-two books of the Bible, leaving the story incomplete. It’s like reading The Lord of the Rings, but not having the second book!
So don’t buy a Bible because of its front cover, color, or size. Instead, look for:
1. The “imprimatur” notice on the back of the title page. An imprimatur indicates that the book is free of errors in Catholic doctrine.
2. Check the index and make sure it has the seventy-two inspired books.
3. A tip: The New American Bible, Ignatius Bible, and The New Jerusalem Bible are great choices!
It won’t be long before you discover the love letter that God has written for you in those pages.
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