By: Nancy Belmont, Director of Faith Formation
“Spend five minutes a day with the Gospels,” our chaplain, Msgr. Chet Michael exhorted us during our Cursillo retreat. “Five minutes. Not ten—that’s too much, you’ll lose focus. If you miss a day, don’t add time to the next day—you’ll get discouraged. Just recommit to your five minutes a day with the Word.” He told us if we dedicated ourselves to that, we’d cycle through all of the Gospels in three or four months. Then what? He told us to double down, cycling through the Word again, embossing it over and over on our gray matter.
Msgr. Chet encouraged us to start with the Gospels because when most people resolve to read the Bible, they start with Genesis and peter out around the laws of Leviticus. He told us to start with the Gospels because their words are more familiar, and we should become intimately acquainted with the words of Christ in order to obey them.
Five minutes a day in the Gospels is a doable goal during this time of quarantine. As we juggle work, kids’ schoolwork, chores, and familial relationships, we can’t always carve out time to read a spiritual book at length or recommit to our CWOC Bible study. We can, and must, however, connect with God’s Word and ask Him how He is speaking to us through it.
Don’t forget the MEANING of the word “Gospel.” It means “good news.” Couldn’t we all use some good news during these uncertain days? Wouldn’t it be more productive to steep ourselves in good news instead of the confusing, alarming, and sad news we find in the media? Shouldn’t we focus on the good news of Christ to give us hope and perspective? When we center ourselves on His word, it assures us that no matter what happens in this earthly life, we have a God who knows our every worry, who cares about us, and who sent His only Son to earth to redeem us so that we could live with Him forever in joy and true comfort. God cares, and He is with us now. He wants to speak to you through His word. Accept the invitation now.
St. Paul encourages us to read scripture because “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
I know we feel like we’ve been stuck in the house forever. Freedom seems far away, and we are anxious about the loosening of restrictions. Immersing ourselves in Jesus’s teachings now will build us up spiritually, help us live virtuously, and fortify us for our good works to come.
St. Jerome famously opined, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.” During this time of physical separation from our church communities, let’s get to know Christ better. May God strengthen our relationship with Him through the Word so that when we receive Him in Sacrament, we will be joyfully determined to bring Him to all peoples in our path.