By Michael H. Brown
WHEN READ AFTER DEEP PRAYER, THE BIBLE SPEAKS TO US AS LIVING DOCUMENT
All we need to know is in Scripture. But it is more than words. It is a living document. Its phrases, its sentence, its anecdotes, its accounts say different things at different times in our lives.
In prayer the Bible actually speaks to us.
Have you noted how different passages mean different things at different times — corresponding, often, with events in your life?
That’s because the Bible is a supernatural and living document.
And that’s how we know for certain (along of course with the confirmation of the Church) that it’s the Word of God.
His Word is the bread of life and in deep prayer phrases from Proverbs or Psalms or the New Testament vivify — even dance — before us.
It is alive because it’s from the living waters!
Pray deeply, and at the most powerful stage of prayer, read the Bible.
Don’t do it like tea leaves. Don’t do it as augury. Don’t open it and let your fingers fall at random on a page and treat it like a divining rod.
It may work that way — at times. The Spirit moves as He will. But it’s not just to predict matters. It is to place the events of our lives in context and instruct us on real inner development.
You may be seeking guidance, and the Bible may well provide a course, but more likely it will simply speak to the depths of your spirit.
Let it cleanse you. Let it reach your innermost being. It does this through prayer. The Scriptural Rosary is a splendid way of getting into the frame of spirit.
Read Scripture during Mass. Really follow the reading. How many times have the readings (when you listened) been pertinent?
The passage that my wife opened to right after the very first time we met was the passage: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
We recall a former atheist who converted after a near-death experience. In the alleged company of angels, he was told precisely this: to pray and let Scripture speak.
“The Bible resonated with truth as I had been given it,” said this man, Dr. Howard Storm, of his alleged conversation with several angels, and then the aftermath. “After weeks it dawned on me that I was not the first person to discover the Bible and find the truth. God speaks directly to us through the testimony of men and women written thousands of years ago. The more I read the Bible the more enthusiastic I became. There are frequent times when you are reading the Bible that the Spirit of God speaks directly to you. You shout inside, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ It is like discovering a magnificent jewel.”
It can also be like discovering a life preserver.
“When I read the Bible slowly, prayerfully, openly, it was like having a conversation with God,” he recounted of his conversion. “It was, and still is, as if the words were alive. They resonated with vitality and excitement in my mind, as if I was engaged in a conversation with the Divine.
“This was surprising since I had tried to read the Bible on a few occasions in the past, and I had found it dry, lifeless, and confusing. The difference was how I approached it.
“If you sincerely ask the Bible to speak to you, and read slowly, listening to every word, it speaks to your mind and becomes alive in your imagination. The more you allow it to speak, the more vivid it becomes.”
Indeed. Pray. Read. Listen. Let God speak where He does loudest: in the deep silence of a trusting heart.