In my musing last week, I shared the importance of reading the Word of God every day because it is Jesus himself who speaks to us through Sacred Scripture. Again, Pope Francis said “Take it, carry it with you, read it every day: it is Jesus himself who is speaking to you… The important thing is to read the Word of God, by any means, but read the Word of God it is Jesus who speaks to us there. And welcome it with an open heart. Then the good seed will bear fruit!”
Even though we know that Jesus longs to speak to our hearts, reading Scripture daily is a challenge. Our lives are so busy with family, work, meetings, activities, and countless other additional interruptions that distract and pull us away from spending time with the Lord each day. When we get busy it seems like the first thing cut from our schedule is our prayer life. Why is that?
In our diocese we see stewardship through the three lenses of hospitality, faith and discipleship. The faith lens is comprised of prayer, study and formation. Reading and reflecting on the Word of God is essential to be people of prayer. The Word of God is alive and has the power to bring about conversion in our lives, but we must establish the practice, the habit of reading God’s Word every day. We must not let the busyness of our lives distract us from Christ. We must not let the lesser tasks of life trump our most important responsibility, our relationship with the Lord.
Fr. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. in this book Lectio Divina: Renewing the Ancient Practice of Praying the Scriptures tells this story:
“Before I came to China I spent a few years in our monastery in the Ozarks. This is one of the poorest areas in the United States. The people living in these mountains are very poor but often very devout. I found among the people there a very good practice. Do you know where they enthroned their Bible? On the pillow on their bed. This means that when they go to bed, they have to pick up their Bible. And they take a moment to get a word from the Lord to carry with them into sleep. Then they placed the Bible on their shoes. In the morning, of course, when the rise they have to pick up the Bible. Again they received a word from the Lord to carry with them through the day. Clever people, those friends in the mountains.”
This week let us try this simple and concrete exercise Fr. Basil Pennington describes. I encourage you to enthrone your Bibles on your bed. Every night before your head hits the pillow read one chapter of the Gospels. Make sure before you go to sleep you put the Bible on your shoes and when you wake up in the morning read another chapter of the Gospels. Let the living Word of God take you into tonight and into the day. Just think if you read one chapter at night and one in the morning you could read the Gospel of Mark in 8 days, now that’s lively faith.
Fr. Mark’s Musings