How do you read the Bible? Today is the feast day of Saint Jerome, who once quipped, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
It’s a running joke that if you want to find a Bible verse, you ought to ask a Protestant and not a Catholic. Protestants read the Bible. Catholics not so much.
This raises the question:
Why Don’t More Catholics Read the Bible?
I think the answer lies in the fact that we Catholics go to Mass. The Holy Mass has at least two Bible readings every time. If you pray the Breviary or Liturgy of Hours, multiply that several times.
Joe Catholic says to himself, “Why should I study the Bible? I go to Mass. I hear it there. Check and check.”
There is something beautiful in this. For Catholics, Bible reading is liturgical. Hence, Bible reading remains chiefly a community experience.
Three Step Plan to Kick It Up a Notch
It’s good to listen to the readings from the Bible at Holy Mass. However, we also need a personal (even private) encounter with God in the pages of Sacred Scripture. All of the saints breathed Sacred Scripture. Scripture served as the grammar for their souls. They couldn’t communicate without it.
Here are some basic spiritual needs that you have every single day of your life:
- Praise – Voicing your delight in God and His provision for your life. Gratitude destroys discouragement.
- Wisdom – You need practical advice to navigate the complexities of life.
- Challenge – You need to be lifted higher. You need to grow in your faith. You need to be inspired. You must be an intentional Christian.
So when you wake up tomorrow, do the following:
- Read a Psalm. Start with Psalm 1. Make it your anthem of praise for that day.
- Read at least one Proverb. Proverbs are the wisdom morsels of your day. There are 31 chapters. Why not read one chapter every day during the month. Oct 1 is Provers 1. October 31 is Proverbs 31. You get the idea.
- Read a chapter of the one of the Gospels. This is your challenge. Your Savior challenges you in the four Gospels. He calls you to be not merely a nominal Catholic but a disciple. You cannot seriously read the Gospels and stay lukewarm. Christ speaks in a way that cannot be ignored.
“But I’m so busy. I don’t have the time!”
What? You’re too busy. Sorry, you just got served a yellow card:
Doing these three readings will take you only 3-5 minutes. That’s the time of a commercial break. It will change your life for good. I promise. It takes 21 days to make a habit, so give it 21 days and see if you aren’t hooked. Put the Bible on your night stand and read it in the mornings. Start fresh.
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” – Saint Jerome, Doctor of the Church
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Question: Do you read the Bible daily? How do you do it? Please share your ideas. You can leave a comment by clicking here.