Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Cody Jones

12/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

It is absolutely essential that we read scripture.

It's getting on toward the end of the year and as we wrap up 2013, I inevitably think about my goals for this year.

We should be reading scripture daily as a good disciple.

We should be reading scripture daily as a good disciple.


By Cody Jones

Catholic Online (

12/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Blog

One goal that I set at the beginning of the year was to read more, and specifically to read a book a week.  This was quite an ambitious goal considering that at the beginning of this year I was working and finishing up a master's degree. While I have always felt that reading is very important, I knew that there had to be something concrete for me to do in 2013.

Now, I bet you're wondering if I stuck to my goal. No, I didn't. I am finishing the year having read just over 30 books covering many different topics and of varying levels of difficulty. Will I make the resolution again? Absolutely.

What this resolution allowed me to do was to make reading a priority and thus whatever reading I was doing was more focused than in years past. What does our reading tell us about our theology?  Henri Nouwen calls believers to deep theological reflection and "spiritual reading."  it is in this kind of attention to reading that we are shaped and formed as believers, as individuals. In having a focused plan, or attention to reading, you are putting yourself on a diet to take in that which challenges your assumptions, expands your imagination (not to mention your vocabulary) and opens your perspective to other points of view.

Enjoy reading the Bible on your tablet.

Now, what are you reading? As Christians, it is absolutely essential that we spend some time each day reading scripture.  This shouldn't be something that we come to out of guilt or obligation, but a well informed discipline that is a part of our discipleship. There are a lot of ways to come to scripture. 

Allow me to suggest a few:

  • You could read a chapter each day.
  • You could read a book of the Bible on a quiet Saturday morning and then spend the next     month re-reading it.
  • You could meditate on themes and images that come out of poetry and prophecy texts (I find that Advent is a great time to do that because of the Isaiah readings).
  • You could spend time each day reading the daily Mass texts with special attention given to the Gospel lesson.

These are a few ways you can engage more with scripture. There really is no wrong way, but there are ways that will allow you to develop a broader perspective and understanding of scripture. These ways tend to require the sacrifice of reading more often and more deeply. I encourage you to make reading scripture a priority this advent as well as in 2014.

Being told to read the Bible is one thing that many of us have heard our entire lives, but why is it really that important? I have spent my life thinking that if I read the Bible more that I would somehow instantly start growing to be a better person, to sin less, to think fewer negative thoughts, and so on. 

It doesn't really work like that, but what it does do is to shape our vocation as believers. When we really take the reading of scripture seriously, we see themes pop over and again. For instance, one theme that continues to pop up in the psalms is the issue of poverty. As you look closer at scripture and inundate yourself more frequently with these themes, your life has to reorient itself around what it feels to be important. If scripture has a lot to say about poverty, the poor, those cast down, then inevitably, you have to ask the question: how do I fit into all of this? Therefore, a constant reading shapes and informs our vocation as believers.

But, we can't stop at scripture alone. What are we reading and how is it challenging us to be the people God has called us to be? In order to be reading more, often ask yourself the question: What am I reading right now? If it's the same book that you were working on a few months ago, maybe it's time to put it down and try again with something else.

Read books that inspire you. Read books that make you uncomfortable. Read books that help you to understand the people you love.

For instance, I am a church musician and with my children's choir, I like to know what they are reading and why they like it or dislike it. Sometimes I will read what they are reading so that I can understand them a little better. I can have a little insight as to what they enjoy or what they find challenging. 

Engage in discussion with people you love about what you are reading, but it's easy to become obnoxious about those kinds of things, so be sure to monitor your level of excitement. 

We are a people called to searching and finding, asking, and knocking. ONE way that this comes about is through deep reading. There are many different ways to go about it, but I encourage you to pick up a book, join a library, purchase a magazine subscription. Challenge yourself. Get past your excuses and start searching, pondering and reading. Whether it's a paragraph here and there or volumes of literature, whether it's Flaubert or Thomas Merton, books can give us necessary insight into our lives of faith and into who we are called to be in Christ Jesus.

Blessings on your reading and let me know how it goes!

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Blog

Take The Ride Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Yesterday I went for a run and then decided to take a bike ride to the neighboring town from where I am vacationing. I had driven to the town just a few days prior and recall thinking how close it was - it quite literally seemed to be nearly side by side in my memory, ... continue reading

Dip Into The Well Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

My source of inspiration to write is much like a well. The water is kept in the well below the surface of the earth, but if you don't ever drop the bucket down into the well to be refilled, it will remain dry. NASHVILLE, TN - Writing, to me, is much the same. In order ... continue reading

On Welcoming the Stranger Watch

Image of

By Justin Soutar

The idea currently in vogue that the U.S. should refuse to admit any Syrian or Iraqi refugees is sadly misguided, as it is based on fear and unhealthy nationalism rather than facts and clear rational thinking. While there are many good reasons to welcome refugees from ... continue reading

I'm a Fool for Fall! Watch

Image of

By Shelly A. Schneider

Ah, spring. The time when a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of love. Or some such nonsense. Have you ever noticed the age-old saying mentions nothing of women? Did you ever wonder why? It might be because I have too much time on my hands, but with a full-time job, ... continue reading

Keep a Journal? Nah, just SKIP it! Watch

Image of

By Shelly A. Schneider

Do you have a journal (or diary as it was known back in my younger years)? I've tried over the years to keep several journals - from food journals to thankfulness journals. I probably have nine or ten beautiful notebooks stuck in corners throughout our home (because ... continue reading

The Communication of Love Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

On the last day of January in 2013, I got the news my grandpa went to Heaven. He was 97-years-old and dementia began to consume him. In the earlier stages of his dementia I vividly recall a visit with him at the assisted living facility, which had become his new home. ... continue reading

This is My Punishment

Image of

By Shelly A. Schneider

On a recent Friday afternoon, driving home from work, I noticed a young man dressed in a gray and white striped prison uniform, standing on the corner of a busy intersection during rush-hour traffic. He held a sign that read, "This is my punishment for stealing." ... continue reading

Waiting On The Train Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

My car rolled to a stop behind the countless cars in front of me as the railroad crossing signals flashed red and the black and white striped arms lowered to keep cars from advancing.  NASHVILLE, TN - There I sat on a one way street, boxed in by cars on every side ... continue reading

Our Shepherd Among Us: Reminiscences and Reflections (Part Three) Watch

Image of

By Justin Soutar

This three-part series offers review and commentary on Pope Francis' historic and memorable Pastoral Visit to the United States. In this concluding installment, we follow the Argentine pontiff on the Philadelphia leg of his remarkably successful journey among us, from ... continue reading

It Is The Truth, Not Nuanced Language, That Will Set Us Free Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

What a treasure St. Catherine of Siena is! One does not become a Doctor of the Church by being fearful to express, teach and live God's Truth in its entirety. CANASTOTA, NY - How ill-advised we are to discount, ignore or try to nuance the wisdom God has shared over ... continue reading

All Blog News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Thursday, November 26, 2015
  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
  • UPDATE: Did the U.S. military actually know they were bombing the ...
  • St. John Berchmans: Saint of the Day for Thursday, November 26, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 6:12-28
12 These men came along in a body and found Daniel praying and pleading ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74
68 Bless the Lord, dew and snow-storm, praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 26th, 2015 Image

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at ... Read More