Very often people who have cooled to the faith return when they have children. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good in that they return because they see value in the faith and want to pass it on. It is a bad thing in that they missed years of growing in the faith and won’t have those years of developed relationship and understanding of God to pass on. You can’t give what you don’t have.
In a similar manner, the Council Fathers exhort especially priests, deacons, and catechists to immerse themselves in Sacred Scripture; to draw ever more deeply from the well to nourish the faithful. You can’t give what you don’t have – and ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ – and what do we have to offer if we don’t know Christ?
But clerics and catechists are not the only game in the sites of the Council’s gun. If someone is under the impression that dust is considered a good, Catholic, protective covering for a Bible, the Fathers wish to relieve them of that misconception. They “forcefully and specifically exhort all the Christian people . . . to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ.’ . . . Therefore let them go gladly to the sacred text itself.” They don’t use much more clearer language than that.
We are all encouraged to engage the Scriptures at Mass, in Bible studies, and in other forms of prayer and formation. But in a special way we are encouraged to use Scripture in prayer. When we pray we speak, when we read the Scriptures, we listen.
Read the Bible. If you think you do not have time, be creative. Buy a read version for your car ride and play it on the car stereo system. Keep a Bible open in your bathroom and read one paragraph a day while you brush your teeth. Have a service send you a verse a day on your computer. Do something.
This year the Church will be exploring the Gospel of Mark in particular. Maybe for Lent take a day and read through his Gospel. Get to know his style, his emphasis, and his personality.
In any event, engage this ancient writing that formed our culture and changed the face of the earth. (I'm not recommending the book shown to the right - I don;t even know it - just liked the cover.)