I just completed one of my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions. It was one that I anticipated taking all year to finish, and I’m proud of myself for keeping at it.
I’ve just read the Bible. The entire Bible, cover to cover.
I figure that between the readings at Mass every week and various Bible studies I’ve done, not to mention learning Bible stories as I was growing up, I’ve probably read or heard every word of the Bible over time. But I decided at the beginning of the year that I wanted to make one of my New Year’s Resolutions a spiritual one, and reading the Bible every day seemed like a good way to do that. Deciding to read every word of it made it more of a challenge, and also kept me motivated.
One of the things I did right at the beginning was to create a chart for myself that listed all the books of the Bible, and the number of chapters in each one. This gave me a tool for marking my progress, and also gave me the incentive to keep reading. In addition to the lessons and the wisdom I acquired from everything I read, I enjoyed the satisfaction of checking off the numbers on my chart.
Reading the entire Bible was not just an accomplishment, it was a journey. I found myself getting more attentive to the readings at Mass every week, especially when one of them was from a book of the Bible I had recently read myself. And I enjoyed answering whenever a friend asked how I was doing or what book I was on.
At one point, someone suggested I memorize the names of the different books of the Bible, and affix in my memory something about each one. That was tricky, as there are more than 70 books in the Bible, many with complicated or unusual names like Habakkuk, Philemon, and Zephaniah. I found a YouTube video with pronunciations, and can now recite all the books of the Bible in order. That wasn’t something I ever thought of doing at the very beginning, but I considered it to be a good mental exercise as well as an accomplishment on its own. Plus, if I’m ever a contestant on the game show “Jeopardy!” and they have a question or category dealing with books of the Bible, I should be able to run the category.
“So what are you going to do next year?” someone asked me recently, when I announced I had completed this goal. I’ve given it some thought, and decided that I’m going to continue the practice of reading something spiritual every morning. I have a number of books and devotionals in addition to the Bible, so I won’t be at a loss for material. And I know that whatever I read, it will be a great start to my day.
In the meantime, it will be a special pleasure to hear, once again, the familiar story of Christmas – from the Book of Luke, by the way – at Mass on Christmas morning.
And it’s a pleasure to wish all of you a very happy and blessed holiday.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on December 22, 2016.
©Betty Liedtke, 2016
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