I distinctly remember winning a biblical charades game at a friend’s birthday party when I was in primary school. My team’s representative only managed to gesture “five” and “two” with her hands before I shouted out “Five loaves and two fishes! The feeding of the five thousand!” I was so excited to have been familiar enough with the bible to have figured it out so quickly. There was something about knowing the Word of God that appealed to me even before I came to know Christ personally. As I went through catechism, I was told that reading more of God’s Word was a way of getting to know God and that would help me to deepen my relationship with Him. But at this time, I had never personally experienced this and had never put in much effort to let it happen. I would only engage with scripture when it was read out to me at Mass or during catechism and maybe on an occasion when I decided to crack open my bible to a random page.
I think a big turning point in my relationship with scripture happened during my time in the School of Witness 2022. In one of the first few weeks of the school, after being prayed for, I was invited to read the Song of Solomon, which I obediently read and prayed with. As I read, I felt like Jesus was speaking to me directly in a manner which was unfamiliar and refreshing.
“My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
God spoke clearly into my insecurities and my desires and reminded me that He is close to me and provides for me in every season. I felt so plainly seen by the Lord, as if someone had read my thoughts and written out an answer I didn’t realise I needed to hear. I never realised this was a book in the bible, much less a channel for the Lord’s living love for me. Throughout the school, I also prayed with more familiar passages of scripture, being surprised over and over again by the Words of Truth the Lord revealed in what I thought I already knew. I grew in conviction that He truly knows me better than I know myself and that He continues to speak to me here and now.
During one session, the speaker shared that she began each day by reading the Mass readings of that day in order to listen to the Lord’s Word. I was very struck by how such a small shift could be life changing and desired to practise this habit too, which as it eventually became a habit, I found very nourishing. The gospel would direct my conversation with the Lord, especially on days when I felt like I had nothing to say to Him or uncertain about what He was saying to me. It helped me to bring Him into my day, every day.
However, there were days when I would be confused by the readings or I would feel like God wasn’t speaking to me, even days when His words seemed arbitrary. On these days, I felt that my trust in the Lord was tested in small but significant ways. Would I be open to how He might be speaking to me in a different way? How might He be inviting me to receive these words? These days also reminded me that scripture is not just a proof text for reinforcing my beliefs but texts which also challenge me. These words were very much alive and working through the patterns in my own life despite how ancient they were.
Having begun my university degree in Theology and Religion last year, I’ve grown in another way of approaching scripture and have found biblical studies to be my favourite area of study. Learning about the context of the different pieces of scripture, both challenged me in my faith in God’s divinely inspired Word and supported me in going deeper into the meaning of a passage and its meaning in my life. Scripture in my life is like a map, not in telling me where to go, but in illustrating the landscape of my everyday reality while pointing me to Christ. Scripture is now the space to which I bring my five loaves and two fish from my daily experiences and trust that the Lord will multiply everything I offer up to Him.