“The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart,” (Hebrews 4:12).
National Bible Week, November 15-21, gives us an opportunity to Bible-base our prayer time, enthrone the Bible in our families, familiarize ourselves with Lectio Divina and lead our families in reading and studying God’s word. The theme of the observance is “The Bible: A Book for the Family.”
We can use this opportunity to proactively live in God’s presence by spending time with him in Scripture and involving our family. Sometimes God tells us adventure stories of daring escapes, fierce battles or tragic defeats. His living word reveals how he knows the challenges and limitations of our human nature. He quickens our hearts with insight to apply his word to our needs today.
The books of the Bible are his love letters to us, expressing his eternal love like love letters of none other. He professes his unconditional love for us even in our waywardness. He sings the Song of Songs to us, wrapping us in his embrace.
With each verse of Scripture, he reveals his thoughts to us. We get to know his ways, so unlike our own. He plants subtle hints between the story lines. Then spells out his specific directives in commandments and beatitudes.
We get to know ourselves. St. Gregory the Great wrote,
"The Holy Bible is like a mirror before our mind's eye. In it we see our inner face. . . . We can learn our spiritual deformities and beauties. And there too we discover the progress we are making and how far we are from perfection."
Joyfully come into God's presence in his living word. It has the power to save us and to form in our open hearts the capacity to receive all the Holy Spirit wants to fulfill in us.
National Bible Week resources for parishes include a faith formation session on reading and understanding the Bible, a guide for starting and maintaining a parish Bible study, a family retreat, tips for using the Bible in catechesis and prayer, and a Scripture vigil on the themes of Catholic Social Teaching. Both English and Spanish resources are found on the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: www.usccb.org/bible/national-bible-week/index.cfm.