A year ago I was invited to a woman’s study group of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.
Seven months ago I was invited to join Bible Study Fellowship.
And a few days ago, Ann Voskamp herself, invited me and anyone else who cared to join, to begin #MemoryProject2014.
I was intrigued by Ann’s story and the study group was the push I needed to actually buy and read her book. Then I saw a friend’s name in the back of it. And found out she and another friend were actually close friends of Ann’s. They are all heroes of mine in various ways including faith and motherhood. Her book called upon me to read more. She quoted from saints I had invoked and whose stories I knew but whom I had never read. And the Bible.
Enter Bible Study Fellowship. The chance to read, really read, the Bible and delve into it more deeply. I thought it was the best idea and it inspired me to tackle more of the Bible on my own. I took a small sabbatical from my Old Testament reading, but I’m refreshed and ready to start back.
When Ann’s blog post about #MemoryProject2014 appeared in my feed reader, I thought, now this is a great idea. But I thought, maybe this isn’t the right year? I’m doing so much already. And I’m studying Matthew right now in BSF, maybe I should choose another book of the Bible to try to memorize from?
So, yeah, while that discernment project was going on, I read Colleen’s post about taking on Ann’s challenge and how she was applying it to her word for 2014 “known.” And I had to pick my jaw up off the ground. Now, THAT was inspiring. I had to find a book to study now more than ever.
During all of this I have been reading Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. My mom got it for me last year and after hearing that the parish my parents attended on Christmas Eve (St Michael Church in Gastonia, NC) handed out copies of it to every person who attended, I felt God was saying, “pick it up Kristen, don’t wait to finish something else.” So, I did. I have always been intrigued by conversion stories in part, I believe, because I have always had the gift of Christ and His Church and the gift of his actual Body and Blood in the Eucharist and I can’t imagine coming from any sort of background that this was not a part of. So, I’m zipping right through it now and I find myself falling in love with God and His Church on earth all over again as I read of how Scott and Kimberly did. And I love how they insist that Catholics should be reading their Bible’s and KNOW Scripture inside and out. And not just because I happen to be at that point in my life where I am doing those things. I happen to agree. Today I was reading Kimberly’s description of being in the hospital after a tubal pregnancy and the comfort of Hebrews verses 11 and 12 were to her. And she included this,
“Catholics can and must memorize Scripture–Protestants have no special gene that makes it easier for them to do it!”
There it was, I NEED to and MUST memorize Scripture. But still, what to memorize. I thought about Hebrews. After all, I had read it several times before, it would be good to memorize and study and…then it hit me (remember the Holy Spirit chases me with a cast iron skillet…)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
Why not study the Word by studying those words that proclaim it all? Why not take Ann’s challenge? Why not jump in with both feet? Why not???
And I opened my Bible and started. Then I went back to Ann’s post and guess what that first memorization verse was? Well, I’m working on the second one now. God has, obviously, over the last 13 months, been calling my heart more and more to Scripture and study. And I did get St Jerome as my saint and that word, “quiet” a word that seemed so illusive to me for so long, is fulfilled in my time studying Scripture and finding the justification there for everything. Every.single.thing. Like Scott Hahn, I look at it in awe of how carefully everything I believe is there. In those words. In the Word. All my other “spiritual/religious” reading was pointing me there. Every richness, every gift. And I feel forever blessed by Him who is the Word, the Word that became flesh for us. Each week we celebrate the Liturgy of the Word just before the Liturgy of the Eucharist. And it is with the beauty of that, that I begin to memorize these verses from John.