Recently I heard a commentator say that the Irish Catholic Church is devotional: e.g. Padre Pio, the Sacred Heart, Rosary, Novenas, Divine Mercy, Pilgrimages to Lourdes and Medjugorje, Holy Water, Scapulars & Medals, etc. All these are massive aids to growing in holiness but in today’s world they are insufficient in themselves. Genuine conversion requires an immersion in the Word of God. This is the main point in today’s Office of Readings from our saint of the day, Laurence of Brindisi.
If we are to lead a spiritual life, we need as our food the grace of the Holy Spirit and the charity of God. But grace and charity are nothing without faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Nor can faith come about without the preaching of the word of God. ‘Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the preaching of Christ.’ Thus the preaching of the word of God is as necessary for our spiritual life as sowing is for our bodily life. This is why Christ says: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed.’ The sower who went out is the preacher of holiness. Christ, God and man, came to preach the word of the Lord, and he sent out the apostles on this task, just as previously he had sent the prophets.
Preaching, then, is an apostolic task, an angelic task, a Christian task, a divine task. The word of God is so filled with manifold goodness that it is like a treasury of all good things. From this word come faith, hope, charity, all the virtues, all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the gospel beatitudes, all good works, all merit in this life, all the glory of paradise. ‘Receive the implanted word which is able to save your souls.’
For the word of God is light to the mind and fire to the will, enabling man to know and to love God. To the interior man who lives by grace for the Spirit of God, it is bread and water; but it is a bread sweeter than honey from the comb, a water better than milk or wine. For the soul it is a spiritual treasure-house of merits, and so is called gold and very precious stones. For the heart that is obstinately hardened in vice it is a hammer; and against the devil, the world and the flesh it is a sword that slays every sin.
How can we increase our use of God’s Word? One primary way is to read and reflect on the daily Mass readings. This can be done by having a missal or finding the readings online: e.g. www.universalis.com. The DGEMS app or www.jesuit.org.sg gives an insightful reflection on the daily gospel. BIBLE ALIVE is another daily commentary that can be ordered online. One can subscribe to the MAGNIFICAT MAGAZINE which also provides a simplified Divine Office prayed by priests and religious since the early day of the Church. Just google MAGNIFICAT MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS. Praying the Scriptural Rosary is a particular recommendation of St John Paul II. Books are available or simply google SCRIPTURAL ROSARY. Last but not least there is LECTIO DIVINA, a method to prayerfully ponder scripture; lookup google.
By the way I read this scholarly article over breakfast this morning. It’s about humility and in particular the prayer we say at Mass: Lord I am not worthy… http://churchlife.nd.edu/2016/07/19/diagnosing-violence-a-response-to-christine-horner/