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The Bible can invigorate Catholic families

When the wisdom of the Bible sinks into the soul of the reader, he or she changes automatically. When you read the Bible, you will understand that this compendium of 73 books holds a magnetic pull within it and it will lead you towards a total change as it happened to Paul, the apostle.

The Bible can invigorate Catholic families

By Joe Palathunkal
If you read the Bible every day at your home, you will see the difference in your life, because the Word of God has an unusual power to break into your soul with a new meaning and that meaning will somehow affect your relationship with another in the family or outside it. Whatever it may be, the Word of God will lead you to a change for the better, and that is definite provided you read the Bible with understanding and sensitivity. Sometimes it may challenge your attitude and outlook, sometimes it may force you for an examination of conscience, and sometimes it will ask you to examine your attitude towards another person within the family. And that is why the Bible is the Book each Catholic family must treasure at home and heart.

I have noticed tremendous change in the family members where the Bible is read regularly and reflectively. Their outlook even towards the relatives who have wronged them and hurt them changes as per what Jesus spoke: forgive your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. When the wisdom of the Bible sinks into the soul of the reader, he or she changes automatically. When you read the Bible, you will understand that this compendium of 73 books holds a magnetic pull within it and it will lead you towards a total change as it happened to Paul the Apostle.

Catholic families must make it a culture to keep the Bible at home and read it every day after the evening Rosary. Mother Mary will definitely help you to understand her son’s Book in proper perspectives. And that is why Pope Francis asks every Catholic family to keep the Bible handy and read it often. “For the family to be able to proceed well, with trust and with hope, it must be nurtured by the Word of God,” says the Pope. Being nurtured by the Word of God is the crux of the matter.

If you are nurtured by the Word of God, healing will take place in you and in your family, and that is another important aspect of the Bible – the therapeutic value. Every family needs psychological and physical healing every moment because every moment an injury happens to every family member if not physically at least psychologically. As far as relationship within the family is concerned, this psychological wound is more serious than the physical one and the Bible invariably will heal you by its very nature and characteristic.

You might have heard about the famous book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, the American writer. The whole book is replete with the Biblical quotes like ‘I can do everything in him who strengthens me’ and so on, and Peale calls the Bible ‘a library within the library’ which means if you have the Bible you don’t have to worry about other books, it is sufficient in itself. That is why the great Swiss theologian Karl Barth says Biblical study is superior to the philosophy which is considered the most superior wisdom. And the book by Peale is nothing but a book of healing by positive thinking, a psychosomatic healing. This is the need of every family whether it is Catholic or not.

Since every family has its existence in a social reality, the Bible will help you to look at and look into that reality with a proper perspective, or in other words, the Bible will help you to interpret the social reality critically and in a humane way. Our social reality may be having a lot of maladies and misguided thinking which may lead to the breakup of the family. Some social atmosphere will be such that it can easily encourage divorce or separation. Then the words of Jesus will loudly tell you – they are one in heart and flesh, what God has joined together let not man put asunder! When the core sense of these words penetrates your soul, you will definitely have a second thought which will save a family and the innocent children! And that is what Karl Barth’s famous work, The Word of God and the Word of Man will teach you about the relevance of the Bible in the context of human reality.

And so let us heed to what Pope Francis said about the invigorating effect of the Bible in our Roman Catholic families just before the starting of the Synod on family: “Today, as the Synod for the Family opens, with the help of the Pauline brothers there is a Bible for every family. Not to just put it on a shelf, but to keep it on hand, dip into it often, both individually and together, husband and wife, parents and children, perhaps in the evening, especially on Sundays. In this way the family will grow and walk in the light and the strength of God’s Word.”

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)

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