When we fall in love with someone, we want to know what they’re thinking, their likes and dislikes, and how they feel about particular issues. We do our best to get to know their family and friends, because it helps us get to know the love of our life even better. We also do our best to communicate with them. Whether it’s in person, on the phone, Skype, another text message, or email, we keep in regular contact. Often, we keep the messages they send us as mementos.
Imagine if you showed up at the dinner table every day and merely exchanged formalities with your spouse or other family members. Imagine if you never consulted them on important matters in your life and treated them as mere acquaintances or roommates, not really needing, wanting, or valuing their input at all. Hard to picture, isn’t it?
Yet when it comes to our growing in faith, hope, and love, this is what we’re saying to God when we don’t even try to listen to Him in prayer, or what he tells us in the Holy Scriptures.
One of the best ways to get to know God, and His son Jesus intimately, is by reading his love letter to us, the Bible. Saint Jerome has a wise saying, “Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ.”
“Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ” – St. Jerome
In the Bible, we learn about God’s family, what breaks his heart, what makes him happy, and how we can stay in relationship with him. All of this and more, just by reading His Word for a few minutes every day.
Perhaps you are intimated by the thought of the Bible. Do you own one? No? Maybe you do, but it’s an old family Bible, or one with an old translation you can’t understand. It’s time to buy one you can understand. The most important advice is to choose a Catholic Bible, and one you will want to read. EWTN has some good information on choosing the right Bible for you. You can find inexpensive Bibles for under $20. You can also use online or app based resources (see below,) but you should own a real Bible.
The Catholic Church gives us a lot of help when it comes to studying the Bible. We don’t even have to worry about where to begin! First of all, the Church lays out Daily Readings, which are read and prayed by Catholics throughout the world in the Church’s daily and Sunday Masses. These readings from the Mass are easily found online, and there are plenty of hard-copy devotionals available with solid reflections to help you get the most out of the Scriptures. (See below.) These reflections are helpful if you, like me, often find yourself scratching your head trying to figure out what message God is trying to get across to you today.
So, take your first baby steps. Light a candle, get your Bible, your Daily Readings, or your daily devotional book and make it a routine to read 15 minutes daily. Preferably when you first wake up in the morning. We are busy people, so set your alarm 15 minutes earlier to have your time with God.
This routine is extremely important for you to progress in your relationship with the Lord. The readings from the Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) are best to begin with. Then think about the passage and talk to the Lord about it, and what it means for you. As you progress, you should expand the time you spend in prayer.
If you want to dive deeper, there are also a number of wonderful Scripture studies you can do, whether on your own, as a couple, in a group at a home or parish, and for every level from beginner to expert level. (See Bible Resources below.)
If we put forth the effort, little by little, day by day, we will get to know God as we encounter him in his word and allow it to take root and grow in our hearts and souls.
Daily Devotionals Using the Mass Readings:
Daily Mass with Homilies from EWTN
EWTN App with Catholic Bible
Laudate App with Catholic Bible, Daily Readings, etc.
Daily Mass Readings Emailed to You Daily from the USCCB
Audio of Daily Mass Readings read to you
Dr. Scott Hahn’s Tools for Bible Study
Where Is That In The Bible by Patrick Madrid
Note: This is an adapted excerpt from Teresa Tomeo’s book “Beyond Sunday: Becoming a 24/7 Catholic” published by Our Sunday Visitor.