When my parents died, my brothers and sisters and I were surprised by mementos we found “hidden away” in plain sight. Things we’d never thought to ask about now invited us to remember again the people our parents were and how our family came to be what it is. There was that one letter they kept, out of hundreds; the braid of my mom’s hair; photos and trinkets from days gone by. For me, it was a trove from which, six years later, I still pull out new wisdom and faith.Do you have a hidden family treasure hiding in plain sight? For people of faith, the Bible can be a trove of spiritual riches. The Second Vatican Council said it best: “The treasures of the Bible are to be opened more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s Word” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 51).
Because family treasures, like the Bible, may become dimmed by dust and time, it’s not always easy to recognize how rare these treasures truly are. That’s why the Archdiocese of Hartford has many resources for helping discover the Bible as one of the spiritual treasures of the Christian faith. With a little help from the Holy Spirit and the family of faith, ordinary Christians are falling in love with God all over again (or for the first time) through reading the Bible.
If you aren’t sure about reading the Bible (“It’s hard to understand”), or if you’ve tried to read the Bible and given up on it in the past (“Is it really relevant?”), the Catholic Biblical School can help with that! Here are four ways to begin stepping into the Bible. What will work for you depends on who you are and what you are looking for.
- The first choice of many would-be Bible readers is Making Sense of the Bible. This is a six-week course open to faith communities within the Archdiocese of Hartford. Specially trained Biblical School educators are ready to unpack Creation, Covenant, Wisdom, Psalms, Gospels and Paul’s Letters and to demonstrate some of the most important skills needed to engage the Bible meaningfully. Making Sense students say, “I have taken many Bible study courses, but this course helped me understand really how the Bible is organized”; “The handouts and exercises … helped me absorb and understand the texts by placing them in their proper context.”
- Second, Bible Basics is a one-shot, no-nonsense introduction to the Bible and might be the place to start. Bible Basics doesn’t “go as deep” as Making Sense of the Bible or the CBS Core Program, but for 2.5 hours adults can explore the Bible and its importance for our faith.
- Next, the Catholic Biblical School Core Program is by far the best way to dig deeply into the Bible and to encounter God’s Word there. As we engage Scripture thoughtfully, comprehensively and prayerfully, our relationship to Jesus, Our Savior will grow beyond imagining. Core CBS students say, “The Catholic Biblical School helps me connect with God and, I hope, build a closer relationship with him.”
- And finally, every Lent the annual archdiocesan Celebration of Sacred Scripture, brings fascinating biblical topics to life with some of the best biblical scholars in the world. In 2018, for example, nearly 200 adults delved into Ruth and the Mothers of Jesus. However you choose to approach it, the Bible teaches that “today” is the acceptable time, and “now” is always the moment to begin listening to what God wants you to know. The Catholic Biblical School Core Program is enrolling now to begin September 8, 2018. Making Sense of the Bible classes and Bible Basics can be scheduled at the desire of your pastor, principal, or other parish leader (with the permission of the pastor). Read the Bible. Reap spiritual benefits. Rise to new life in Christ Jesus.
If you want more information about any of these opportunities, go to https://catholicedaohct.org/basic-information or contact us directly at email@example.com.
Portions of this post first appeared in the November 2015 issue of The Catholic Transcript, https://www.catholictranscript.org/columns/262-barbara-jean-daly-horell/5786-the-bible-a-book-for-the-family.html.