One of the clearest ways God speaks to us, and speaks to each of us in our unique situations, is in sacred scripture. His word comes to us as the living sign of His presence among us. Scripture is not so much about telling us how to live good lives as it is about communicating to us the very presence of the Lord in our lives. It is God’s invitation to us to enter into an intimate relationship with Him. We pick up the scriptures each day and there encounter the loving presence of God in His word. The word of God is the ground of all authentic Christian spirituality, and it possesses the power of calling us to conversion, renewing us and transforming our lives through its mysterious power, because when we encounter the word of God in a prayerful way it draws us into communion with the One who speaks the word to us.
It is in the gospels that God reveals Himself to us most fully. In the incarnation, life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God not only reveals Himself most definitively, but communicates His very self to us. In Jesus, God comes to commune with us. In the gospels we encounter the story of this self-communication, and in our reading of the gospels, we open our lives to this abundant outpouring of God’s loving presence in Christ to us.
Opening the gospels each day is an act of love. To attend and listen to the voice of the Lord in His word is a beautiful way of showing our love for Him each day. He delights in our presence and our listening; He rejoices when we dispose our hearts and minds to His words. Prayerfully reading the gospels each day is a vital spiritual practice that forms the divine consciousness within us. As we return daily to the life, words and praxis of Christ in the gospels we are nourished by the life-giving texts that gradually shape our thinking and lead us into a spiritual vision of reality. Our awareness of the abiding presence of God within ourselves, others and the world is deepened as we create a space within our hearts for the Word to take root. As we calibrate our lives to the spirit of the gospel, the loving action of the Holy Spirit gradually transforms our way of thinking, sensing and responding. Human logic gives way to divine logic as the scriptural text begins to interpret our lives rather than our lives interpreting the text. The word of God begins to redescribe our worldly understanding when we allow the text to interrogate us, rather than we interrogating the text. Our inner lives are gradually absorbed into the inner life of God as the gospel narrative gently transforms our narrative.
friar Terence Bateman OFM Conv.