Discipleship Habit #2: Read Scripture Every Day
Week 15 Jesus, Speak Directly to Me
Lord Jesus, You are good, and we praise You. Through Your Scripture, You lovingly tell us the story of our salvation and continue to speak to us today. Forgive us for the times that we haven’t listened to You in the Scripture. In Your Scripture you tell us, “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) Thank You for coming to us so powerfully through Your Word. Help us to know that You long to speak to us through Your Word. Lord, teach us how to listen to Your voice speaking to us through Your Scriptures. Inspire us to meet You in Your Word daily. Jesus, we trust in You. We make this prayer in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Each week, we grow more deeply into the habits of discipleship, into that “ONE THING”, which is the loving encounter with Jesus Christ in his Church. Last month, we focused on the habit of prayer. This month, we turn to the habit of growing in deeper relationship with Jesus by coming to know, more deeply, God’s Word in Sacred Scripture.
Pause, for a few moments, and consider how Jesus prayed during His earthly life. He was raised in a Jewish family and steeped in Jewish traditions. He was taught to pray, by His family, His teachers, and the rabbis. He was taught the Sacred Scriptures from childhood, memorizing them, and coming to grow into God’s Word. As disciples, we do as Jesus did.
How does one begin the habit of reading and praying with Scripture? An easy way to begin this habit is to pray with the whole Church, each day, by praying the readings of the day. These can be easily found in your parish bulletin, on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (usccb.org/bible/readings), and you can download an app for your smartphone (look for “Daily Readings” at the Apple App Store, Google Play, or Amazon App Store). When you read the daily readings, you not only have the opportunity to pray the daily Scriptures (habit of prayer), but you do so with the entire Church throughout the world (habit of community). There are terrific publications you can also subscribe to in printed or electronic form, like Give Us This Day, The Word Among Us, Magnificat, and Living Faith. You can also find great websites that offer reflections on the readings of the day.
Throughout the month, practice incorporating reading and praying with Sacred Scripture into your day. By listening to God’s living Word in Sacred Scripture, we can hear the voice of Christ speaking directly to us in our lives.
What is your favorite Bible verse? In what way does it impact how you think about Jesus? … about yourself?
Praying with Ignatian Contemplation
The Scriptures are God’s Word revealed to His people. He continues to speak to us through them today. Leaning to listen to God speak through Scripture is like learning any new language. It takes practice.
One way the Church has taught us to listen to God speaking through the Scripture is through Ignatian Contemplation. In this prayer, one uses his or her senses in an imaginative way to reflect on a Gospel event in Jesus’ life. One uses the senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling – to make the Gospel scene feel real and alive. Begin by selecting a passage from Sacred Scripture with which you may wish to pray. Some suggestions might be:
John 11:1 - 44: The Raising of Lazarus.
Mark 10:46 – 52: The Blind Bartimaeus.
1 Samuel 3:9: Speak, Lord.
The Ignatian Contemplation method:
Lord, inspire me to read Your Scriptures
and to meditate upon them day and night.
I beg You to give me real understanding of what I need,
that I in turn may put its precepts into practice.
Yet, I know that understanding and good intentions are worthless,
unless rooted in Your graceful love.
So I ask that the words of Scripture may also be not just signs on
a page, but channels of grace into my heart.
Origen of Alexandria, 184 – 253 AD