A Book that Makes You Grateful to Be Alive

As Catholics, the Bible is the foundation of our faith. However, many of us only read The Bible in church on Sundays. The Bible isn’t meant to be a textbook that we only engage with at school. It’s a history book, a how-to book, a storybook

Keep in mind that during this discussion of the Bible, we’re going to assume that you have the Catholic Bible. That’s an important distinction because the Catholics have seven additional books that Protestant Bibles don’t. Some of them might not come up at all in this article, but some of them are very important – and interesting!

Approaches to Reading the Bible

Many Catholics have read the Bible cover-to-cover just like you might read a novel. While it might be smart to do that at least once, there are a number of other ways to approach The Big Book as well.

A book that makes you grateful to be alive

Of course, you could read the Bible cover-to-cover. There are also lists of the narrative books that give you the “plot” of the Bible without some of the more “boring” books. However, , I recommend the following.

For Comfort

Catholics around the world and throughout time turn to the Bible for comfort. While you may find comfort in many places of the Bible, there are a number of places that you can go to look at first.

Psalms, Proverbs, The Song of Solomon, The Book of Wisdom, and Lamentations are all books of poetry. . One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 3, which includes the passage:

“Thou, O Lord, art a shield about me, / my glory and the lifter of my head. / I cry aloud to the Lord and He answers me from his holy hill. / I lie down and sleep; / I wake again for the Lord sustains me.”

Psalm 3

While The Song of Solomon, The Book of Wisdom, and Lamentations may be less familiar to you, these books were written in praise to God looking back on times of suffering

Similarly, the Psalms can be seen as a redemption arch that begins violent and seemingly hopeless but moves toward exalting God – no wonder they’re a part of every Catholic Mass.

Through the Mass

If you’re a new Catholic or converting from Protestantism, you might want to sit down for this one: Catholic Priests don’t pick the readings for each Mass. If you asked me, I could tell you what the mass readings will be for the Fifth Sunday after Easter a hundred years from now.

A book that makes you grateful to be alive

Every day has three Bible readings associated with it – not just Sundays. These readings are grouped together because they share a common theme. When you go to Mass, the sermon will often involve explaining this theme. , it might have the theme spelled out for you.

However, whether you’re going to Mass or not, reading the daily Bible readings, and taking time to think about them and how they are related can be a very rewarding experience. 

You can also access daily readings as well as other educational and inspirational content through Operando.

As a Self-Help Book

Reading through books like Psalms and Proverbs can be a good place to start. However, many of the helpful passages are in places where you might not think to look. And, Psalms is a sort of redemption story so some of the psalms can be on the sad side and might actually make you feel worse.

The good news is that there is ‘a search tool’ for the Bible called a Concordance. These documents are kind of like the last volume of an encyclopedia that lets you search alphabetically for an item and points you to passages in the Bible that speak to that topic.

You can buy a physical copy of a concordance, and they can be handy to have around. However, there are also free versions online.

A book that makes you grateful to be alive

Feeling down? Search “Consolation under affliction” to find 2 Corinthians 1:3, which reads:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

A Book that Makes You Grateful to Be Alive

Whatever hardship you may be going through, the Bible has a passage that addresses your pain. Whatever joy you may be experiencing, the Bible has a passage to celebrate your happiness.

Right now you may take the Bible for granted, or be afraid of the sheer size of it. However, there are a number of ways to approach The Greatest Book Ever Written, and hopefully, .

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