A reading of the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini, reminds us of how frequently the popes, the fathers, the doctors, and the saints have urged us Catholics to read and reflect on Scripture—and how sluggish our response has been!
Verbum Domini has been released by the Vatican and can be read in its entirety here in PDF format OR
online @ The Vatican Website.
I know the stereotype is that Catholics aren’t interested in Scripture. In many places and at many times the stereotype holds true. I hope this is changing! But if Catholics are not interested in Scripture, it is not from a lack of exhortation from the most authoritative representatives of the faith.
St. Josemaria Escriva, a recently canonized saint, is a good example of the reverence for Scripture that lies at the heart of the faith:
“When you open the Holy Gospel,” St. Josemaria wrote, “think that what is written there—the words and deeds of Christ—is something that you should not only know, but live. Everything, every point that is told there, has been gathered, detail-by-detail, for you to make it come alive in the individual circumstances of your life.
“God has called us Catholics to follow him closely. In that holy Writing you will find the Life of Jesus, but you should also find your own life there.
“You too, like the Apostle, will learn to ask, full of love, ‘Lord, what would you have me do?’ And in your soul you will hear the conclusive answer, ‘The Will of God!’
“Take up the Gospel every day, then, and read it and live it as a definite rule. This is what the saints have done” (The Forge, §754).Perhaps the greatest advice I took to heart was to make Scripture a habit. Whether you want to incorporate baby steps or make a grand leap into your Bible here are some suggestions for weaving more and more Scripture into your days . . . .
- Make it a habit to read the readings of the day or just the Gospel reading of the day.
- Pre-read Sunday's readings and then utilize the Navarre commentaries or chose a trusted commentary online to help you prepare for the next Sunday
- Look up your "Birthday Scriptures" and be sure to read all around it so you understand the context. For example - if your birthday is on May 8 you would look up chapter 5 verse 8 in the books of the Bible. Find the one(s) that you really like and memorize it (them)
- Read the parables
- Read Scripture with the Early Church Fathers and look up the Bible passages cited.
- Participate in a solid Catholic Bible Study like Great Adventure or Epic (more Church History but incorporates Scripture) Stay away from Cornerstone!
- Read the Gospels with the help of the Navarre Bible commentaries
- Pray the Liturgy of the Hours / Divine Office
St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology
Divine Office online
Commentary on Pope Benedict XVI's Verbum Domini @ Catholic.org
Verbum Domini @ The Vatican Website