The daily struggles of life are many and we all bear crosses that sometimes seem to crush us and don't always seem to give us any glimpse of the Resurrection, yet one can't have a taste of that same Resurrection unless we go through the cross.
I grew up knowing that in order to develop a deeper relationship with Christ, in order to get to know the Father and to discover who I was, I had to grow closer and closer to the Scriptures. The Bible was not a collection of books retelling stories and events of the past but that among those pages not only would I find my own past but my present and my future as well. That Word was alive and active and brought life and straightforward answers (most of the time).
The other day for instance it was one of the many days of discomfort and difficulty I have been experiencing during this pregnancy... I was upset and I was complaining to God, telling him how I wished that I had that ideal mother living next door who would alleviate all my sorrows and would take over for just one day so that I could rest, and moaning that I wanted the ideal father would just turn up and provide for what I needed without me asking because he just knew what I was going through ...
As I started my Lectio Divina with my mothers group, God was quick to console me and in various passages of the Bible He presented me with Mary as my mother and He clearly showed himself as THE Father I needed! NO! I refused to listened ... I KNEW THAT...but I WANTED PRACTICAL HELP... nevertheless I carried on... The more I went from one parallel passage to another, the more He clarified who He was and what I really needed.... I found peace, even if for just that day, went home refreshed, the daily battle began and I was reminded of the importance of being closer to the Scripture when the times are bad as well as when they are good, because the Word is vital to my life as a Christian.
I know I was very lucky to be brought up to lean on the Sacraments as well as the Word and for this I thank my parents, the catechists who formed me and Christ himself, yet sometimes the busyness of life blinds you so much that you start to think that you have no time to spend some quiet moments with the Word of God.
This is where 'Stay Connected' comes in. A book that doesn't ask too much of you but that will give you a taste of the treasures that Scripture contain.
The 'Stay Connected' journal for Catholic women by Allison Gingras is a perfect friend to help you discover the joy we Catholic can find through the Word of God.
Allison shares her own Faith journey as she guides the reader towards a closer contact with Christ and with the inner self constantly struggling and yet wanting desperately to connect with God.
Each chapter starts with an 'opening prayer', offers plenty of points to reflect on, helps you to relate and reflect on around half a dozen scripture passages and by asking some practical questions offers the opportunity to develop that sought after deeper relationship with the only One who can give us life. The chapters end with discussion or sharing points and a closing prayer that summarises the themes, the feeling and the experience of that particular chapter.
If you are not familiar with Lectio Divina this journal is a great starting point and a good tool to lead you through uncharted waters. If, however, you are used to doing regular Lectio Divina this book could work perfectly for a study group as it presents a very clear structure to follow as well as practical questions that will lead the group to interesting and thought provoking discussion points.
As St Jerome said: 'Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ' ...so if up until now you thought getting to know the Bible was something that only belonged to other Christian denominations perhaps it's time you get with the programme and start discovering and enjoying that life-giving gift we Catholics have been given ;-).
|Allison Gingras, Author|