Guest editorial by Father Jeff Belger
St. Jerome, the great Scripture scholar, once said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Put more positively, if you want to grow in relationship with Christ, dust off your Bible.
A paragraph from St. John Paul’s letter to the faithful, “Dies Domini” (“Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy”), reminds us of a sacred responsibility of knowing the Word of God. We are called to integrate Scripture into our daily lives. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16).
I will let you in on a little secret — I have not memorized the Bible. However, I can say that with the advent of the internet (and my smartphone), I have been able to integrate Scripture into conversation and into my writing more and more. In fact, I just integrated Scripture into this reflection four sentences ago. I knew that St. Paul said something about Scripture being useful for teaching, but I did not remember in which letter he made that observation. So, I got my phone out and “googled”:
“Scripture good for teaching.” From that brief search, I had my answer of where to find that Scripture passage.
So many times, I can remember only a fragment of what I wish I could simply call to mind. Until I can memorize the whole thing, I will continue to google and learn. It is important enough to do a quick search because I am getting to know Christ better and introducing him to others.
At the Newman Center (on the University of Iowa campus), we are trying hard to prepare students and community members to proclaim the Word of God more articulately at Mass. We are also investing more time and energy in Bible studies. I know this is having a tremendous impact on the culture of the Newman Center. Students are excited to dive deeper into Scripture more than ever before.
Sometimes by making a dramatic change, we can be more mindful of something we have taken for granted. Last month, for example, Pope Francis opened the global synod. The readings for the weekend of Oct. 16-17 were switched to accompany this celebration. I will be commenting more on the synod in weeks to come.
Until then, “May the Word of God dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).
(Father Jeff Belger is priest director of the Newman Catholic Student Center on the University of Iowa campus.)