The Bible: God’s Living Word

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on August 21, 2013

in Blogs

The-Catholic-Childrens-Bible_4139.jpg.215xAs a result of working on the only complete Bible for children (St. Mary’s Press), I’ll be speaking on Scripture in Chicago this year. Some thoughts . . . What is the Bible? The Word of God in the words of human beings. In Genesis, God said, “Let it be,” and the entire universe came into being. In the Gospels, Jesus spoke and people are healed, storms cease, and a dead man walks out of a tomb. That same God speaks to us in Sacred Scripture. The Bible is powerful. As it says of itself, “The Word of God is living and effective, sharper than a two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). God said to Jeremiah, “My word is like fire, like a hammer shattering rocks (Jeremiah 23:29).” Sadly, for many Catholics, the Bible remains an unopened treasure.

The Constitution on Divine Revelation (21) says, “In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children and talks with them.” The Bible is an intimate, personal letter, a love letter from God. God even may speak directly to us when we open Scripture to a random page. Have you ever done this? If so, you’re in good company. St. Francis of Assisi called this practice the First Opening. (Today we call it the Lucky Dip—or Bible roulette!) Opening the Bible three times, St. Francis discovered the three rules his Franciscan communities were founded on.  Then there is St. Augustine. When he was the playboy of the West, God called him to convert through the Bible. He heard a voice say, “Take and read.” When Augustine opened the Bible, he read Romans 13:13-14, which says, “Let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness . . . . ” This led him to become a Saint. When Thomas Merton was discerning whether or not he should be a Trappist (monks known for not speaking), he opened the Bible. There he saw the words, “Be silent” in Psalm 46:10.

Expecting God to speak to us through Scripture is not superstitious. Pray first and make it an act of faith. Louis Evely in That Man Is You  describes the attitudes we should have when approaching Scripture. He recalls the story of the woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ cloak:

Now everybody’d touched him, everybody’d hustled him, still nobody’d been cured or transformed. Only one had touched him with faith; a profound sense of well-being coursed through her; she was cured. As for us, we all read the Gospels now and then. But if we approach them like an ordinary book, they’ll produce no extraordinary effect on us.  We have to read them the way we’d have touched Christ; with the same reverence, the same faith, the same expectancy.

May many more people find themselves praying with the prophet Jeremiah, “When I found your words I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart.” (Jeremiah 15:16)

When have you had the experience of a Scripture verse speaking directly to your heart and making a difference in your life?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Juliemarie McDonald August 21, 2013 at 11:54 am

Loved it. Thanks. The Bible is my book. Each day he speaks to me and I pass it on to others. My niece has begun to ask me lots of questions. I am going to give her your blog to read. I think it will be a wonderful help to her. Thanks again, Kathleen. Juliemarie

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Kathleen Glavich, SND August 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I hope your niece will be as smitten with God’s Word as you are, Juliemarie!

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Rhonda September 8, 2013 at 11:35 am

Thank you Sr. Juliemarie and Kathleen for your prayers and insight. I was looking for a way to bring my grandsons to God. This book, the Bible for children is just what I have been looking for. Keep praying for me as I will do for you. Thank you, Rhonda

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Kathleen Glavich, SND September 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for your prayers, Rhonda. Hope to meet you at our barbeque on September 22 or 29. Blessings on you and your family!

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Gold Price September 3, 2013 at 5:21 am

Since we Catholics do not belong to a sola scriptura church is any particular translation of the Bible that important? Don’t we take the Bible as a whole along with Tradition and the Catechism? If I have trouble understanding a particular passage I might compare several different versions to get the prevailing flavor of the meaning. Here is the website I use http://bible.cc/ . I just type in the verse(s) I’m interested in. I use the NAB as my primary translation because I just find the English phrasing so much easier to understand.

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