The Role of Study in Nurturing Relationship with God
In college, I had a theology professor who LOVED his “randomizer.” At the beginning of each class, he would roll up his sleeves and say (with a twinkle in his eye), “Let’s see... who has the randomizer has chosen today?”
Instantly, every head in the classroom would snap down, as we all stared at our desks and hoped that the randomizer would not elect *us* to be among the chosen few who had to ask a question or provide an insight on the readings for that day.
Though I complained back then, now I look back and laugh because our professor really did teach us the importance of STUDY. It was the one class I was *always* prepared for.
YES, prayer is essential for growing in relationship with God, but study is too… After all, how can we love who we do not know? How can we share that love with others if we don’t understand ourselves?
Today, Mary and I are sharing a few of our favorite resources and tools for studying & growing in our faith below. Different resources speak to different women in different seasons of life, so take what we have to say with a grain of salt ;).
For delving into scripture & “getting” the most out of Mass – I LOVE my Every Sacred Sunday journal. The readings for each Sunday’s Mass (and all Holy Days of Obligation) are included. Each Saturday, I read the readings ahead of time, which ensures that even if I have a screaming baby in my arms during Mass, I can pay more attention than I otherwise would have. This also gives me an opportunity to really sink into the scriptures and let them touch my heart & meditate on them rather than just rushing through them. I also write in the journal notes from the homily and come back to the readings throughout the week.
For understanding the beauty of our identity as women - Okay, I’m cheating on this one. 3 resources I love: The apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitateum by St. Pope JPII and Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body (also by JPII) were both transformative reads for me. Mulieris Dignitateum is super easy to enter into and an illuminating read, so I think it’s a great place to start. I also think everyone needs to explore the beauty of the theology of the body though, so if the full book seems intimidating, try reading through it in tandem with Mary Healy’s book Men & Women are from Eden. She breaks down TOB into super manageable, easy to understand chunks and makes it easier to dive into the full text. By far the best study guide I’ve found!
For learning about the sacraments - Understanding the Sacraments by Lawrence E. Mick was a super helpful book for me to read. I loved how it was short, factual, and informative, but also how it helped to explain the role of us, as the collective community of believers, in the Sacraments.
For pre-Mass preparation - I can’t get enough of my Every Sacred Sunday journal for many of the same reasons Kara mentioned above! Additionally, Kara and I are actually using the ESS Mass journal to guide our weekly prayer and reflection together this year!
To explore issues of social justice - the USCCB website is an awesome starting point to learn more about Catholic Social Teaching. This is an area of study that is near and dear to my heart. There are TONS of amazing resources to learn more about CST, but I find myself often returning to this site to help me get a solid grasp of this essential element of our faith.
For all around great Catholic scripture studies - I love Take Up and Read. Each study is so beautifully and intentionally put together! It’s a gift to be able to share the experience of studying the Bible with a group!
What books or resources are helping YOU to know and love your faith better? Drop a comment below ;)
XOXO Kara and Mary