I am so excited! This month the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is launching an initiative to help families read the Bible more. Here’s what they have to say about it on the USCCB blog:
From November 15–21, 2015, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops invites families, parishes, schools, and other Catholic groups to participate in National Bible Week in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Dei Verbum. This year’s theme, “The Bible: A Book for the Family,” builds on this year’s Synod of Bishops on the Family and Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families.
(If you haven’t heard of Dei Verbum, it’s a very short document (as in totally readable!) on Divine Revelation (God’s Self revelation to us in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition). I highly recommend reading the whole document or reading it again if you haven’t in a while. It’s that good!)
Why am I so excited? Because I used to think that the Bible was a dead book. I treated it the same way I treated any other book. It was a pile of pages with words wrapped up with the final destination of dust collector on my bookshelf.
That all changed when I actually prayed with Scripture for the first time in high school. I was struck to the core when I felt deep in my heart the voice of God the Father speaking His love to me through the words I read on the sacred pages. This wasn’t just another book. This was the story of all of humanity, my story, the story of LOVE written for me to encounter and find answers to the deepest longings in my soul. I felt like the prophet Jeremiah entrenched in His Word, unable to get enough of it:
Thy words were found, and I ate them, and thy words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart… (Jeremiah 15:16).
The Bible isn’t optional – this is a necessary part of our journey to the Heart of God the Father! If we want heaven, if we want joy, if we want life, then we need a relationship with God. He reveals Who He is and how He loves us through Scripture and Tradition. How can we get to know Him without reading His Word? We can’t. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” (St. Jerome).
St. Paul tells us in his letters to the Hebrews that the Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). When was the last time you encountered something living? Well, today probably. Think of interacting with other humans. They are living. Full of life. They have something to give. You can walk away energized after spending time with someone. That’s because they are more than a clump of cells – they are persons with intellect and will and awesomeness.
The same is true with the living Word of God written down in the Sacred Scriptures by human authors through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Everything in the Bible is fully inspired by God – nothing more or less than what He intended is written in the Scriptures. And we are sure of it as it has been safeguarded and handed down to use through the ages from the Magesterium of the Catholic Church. This inspired Word is as alive as the people we interact with daily. If you come to it willing to be changed, you will!
The first time I prayed with Scripture, I was changed. I wasn’t just encountering a nice story in a book, I was making contact with God Himself. He breathed life into my soul.
In the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, God speaks to the prophet saying,
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).
EVERY time we hear the Word of God He will work in us. But we need to do our part and open the Bible – we need to pray and listen. Are you up for the challenge?
If you haven’t ever prayed with the Bible together as a family, now is a great time to start. Use the USCCB resources and prayers in conjunction with the following 30 Days of Scripture as a Family guide and be sure to follow Yellow Pelican on Facebook to connect with other Catholic families doing the same. (And if you’re a pro at daily prayer with Scripture as a family, I welcome you to use the guide as well and offer tips and feedback in the comment section!)
Sit down together as a family (or if you’re unable to, do this before breakfast or bedtime together).
Begin with the Sign of the Cross.
Read the Scripture verse for that day.
Say your usual meal time prayers.
End in the Sign of the Cross.
Download your free copy here! –> 30 Days of Scripture Daily as a Family
Hopefully this daily practice can create a habit in your family so that you and your children can encounter God’s Word each and every day! And don’t be afraid to discuss the verse after praying each day – you may be surprised how God moves in your hearts.
What’s your favorite way to get daily Scripture in as a family? Share in the comment section below!