“The door of faith is always open to us…” Pope Benedict XVI
Where is that door?
One of the things I have found most useful in pursuing my faith is scripture. While opening to a random page is always interesting, for a more structured and insightful approach, consider these options.
The Easy Start
For a quick reflection, I love Living Faith. This quarterly booklet, about the size of a passport, is also available online. Living Faith offers a daily biblical quote (one sentence or less!) and then a brief observation. Written by a variety of authors, each day feels different – one day a personal story, another a faith insight.
Time: This takes one to two minutes. Doesn’t get much quicker than that.
The Mass readings for each day are on-line (the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, or EWTN Global Catholic Network, for instance), as well as published in a booklet by Magnificat (my favorite). Each month, Magnificat offers (for a fee) a booklet or an app with prayers and readings for each day. Also included are summaries of the Saints lives, as well as a helpful ‘Meditation of the Day’ (often excerpted from the global writings of holy luminaries) which is always robust and credible.
Time: Magnificat can take as little or as much time as you would like to give. Usually, I spend ten or fifteen minutes.
Sounds scary? I thought it would be filled with people shouting random bible verses, or throwing themselves to the floor wailing in prayer. In fact, in my local Scripture Study I was surprised to find quite a few people I knew, and really liked, pop up. People don’t advertise it. They just go. I found new friends, and a few old acquaintances became good friends.
If you can go to a Scripture study in person, I recommend it. The support of a community, and thought-provoking discussion can’t be matched in a virtual world. (Check the website of a local church. Don’t worry if you haven’t been to Mass or services. Give in to the desire to learn more. Trust God.)
That said, on-line options are plentiful and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Just make sure it’s a reputable and well-established group or leader (you know the risks with on-line personas). Ask questions, think, test.
There is also a published series of studies that has great insight: Six Weeks with the Bible. Titles address books of the Bible (Luke: The Good News of God’s Mercy), or themes (Jesus the Healer) and include Old and New Testament.
Time: Most Scripture Study meetings/sessions are 60 to 90 minutes.
Start with whatever feels right to you. Let yourself enjoy it. If you have any feedback or other suggestions, please add your two cents.