You search the Scriptures. (John 5:39)
4th Week of Lent
Have you ever picked up your Bible, read a passage from it, and then wondered what in the world God was trying to say to you? Maybe you decided the passage didn’t have any application for your life, so you set it aside and moved on with your day. But somewhere in your heart, you sensed that God really did want to say something to you; you just couldn’t place your finger on it.
As Catholics, we believe that the Bible is not just a historical artifact or a set of rules and guidelines for our lives. No, it is a living word from God that bears the inspiration of the Holy Spirit both for the whole Church and for each person who ponders its messages.
But just like everything else in the Christian life, Scripture won’t magically make sense to us. We need to cooperate with the Spirit as we read the Bible. And that takes some time, some attention, and some perseverance.
The following guidelines may help you cooperate with the Spirit as you open the Bible and ponder its meaning. Try putting them into practice over the next few days and see what happens.
• Select a Scripture passage to read. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you as you begin to read the passage.
• Slowly read the passage a couple of times, dwelling on the words or phrases that resonate in your heart.
• Imagine that you are at the scene described in the passage. Imagine Jesus or Moses or Sarah or Abraham turning from the action and speaking directly to you. What message do you hear?
• Notice if some words or pictures come to mind. This may be God speaking to you—especially if the images and thoughts lead you closer to Christ, fill you with hope, or stir your heart to love and forgive.
• Write out what you think God is saying to you, and close with a prayer of thanksgiving.
God wants to reveal himself to us in Scripture. Through quiet reflection we can learn to hear his voice.
“Holy Spirit, quiet my heart. Help me to read Scripture with new eyes. Let your revelation penetrate my life and fill me with peace.”
Culled from Word Among Us (A daily Catholic Devotional)
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
19 At Horeb they made a calf
and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
20 They exchanged their glorious God
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
21 They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
22 miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 So he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.