December 06, 2011

Scripture as a Personal Encounter with Christ

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal lord and savior?

In the last section of part two of Verbum Domini, titled "The Word of God in the Life of the Church", the Holy Father reminds us that a Christian life is one that not only follows Christ but encounters Him. While members of Christian denominations encounter Christ in the Scripture, His words and actions in the Gospels, we experience Christ in far more ways. He is here to be encountered in far more ways. We receive His forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. We receive the Holy Spirit, that was sent by Christ, when we're confirmed in the faith. We receive His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. We see and hear and touch and taste Jesus Christ.

We are Bible Christians; we are just not Bible-only Christians.

“The Christian life is essentially marked by an encounter with Jesus Christ,” Pope Benedict writes. He shares with us the synod's hope that “...prayerful and faith-filled reading of the Bible will, with time, deepen their personal relationship with Jesus.” We are called to have a personal relationship with Christ, for Christ to be, so to speak, our personal lord and savior. He is not just the Lord of All in a broad sense but, very personally, the Lord of my life. He is the Lord of me. As such, His Word should be a part of each day of my life.

If you aren't reading Scripture daily, start including the Bible into your daily life. You could read a passage each morning when you wake or before bed (or both!), or you could share a meditation on Scripture with your family over dinner. However you do it – and you can start small – find some way to follow St. Jerome's advice quoted by the Holy Father, to study a passage of Scripture each day.

You can begin by reading a few lines from one of the Gospels each day. They tell the central story of the Bible – indeed, the central story of history. Start from chapter one, verse one, and make your way through one of the four accounts of Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection. You can also study Scripture more deeply at Dr. Scott Hahn's website, salvationhistory.com, which offers free online and audio Bible studies.

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