If someone had asked me that question about 8 years ago I might have said somewhere in a bookshelf but I am not entirely sure where. As I have shared in the past there was a period of time in my 20s when I would consider myself a lukewarm Catholic. I went to Sunday Mass and said some prayers but little else. A deep conversion brought by illness and suffering changed this. The Bible, well it would be rediscovered and find a new place in our home. On the road to deeper conversion which is truly never over, our first step was to get a simple and easy to read Children’s Bible which my husband would read with the children at night as a family. The 365 Read Aloud Bible stories contained true scripture verses but were arranged to give a whole story which made reading the Old Testament much clearer both for our children but also for us. We read through the Bible once and then again and then again over several years. Something interesting happened at Mass during the Old Testament readings things began to fit together. There was a context for the readings that truly helped understand the messages being conveyed. The children had a much shorter Christmas list after we began reading the Bible at night. Their number one request was that each one wanted a Children’s Bible of their own. I remember vividly Christmas morning. Our 10, 6 and 3 year old all running to open their gifts. As we headed off to grandmas for the day they were told they could bring only one present...all three grabbed their Bibles. Our youngest had a Bible with a disc on the front that read the Bible to him as he went page by page. As we got to grandma’s farm the children were each in a corner reading away. Well our little guy was off in a corner with a clock radio that had a disc player listening to his Bible. This really made a huge impression on me.
These children loved the stories of the Bible. Nightly the children could be found with their Bibles. The following year there were requests for more difficult ones and so on. Even my husband has slowly transitioned us from the Read Aloud 365 Day Children’s Bible to an Adult Bible for our family prayer readings. Our Bible which was given to us by a wonderful priest, for a time lived on our dinning room table where mail often was placed over it. But now it has found a wonderful new home on our radiator by the window in the living room. It is often left open and recently I saw something wonderful. Our little son who now is 6 can often be found stopping for a short investigation as he moves through the house. Our Bible although meant for adults has wonderful sections on the Rosary and Stations of the Cross with pictures. Seeing the children growing up so deeply rooted in scripture is a beautiful thing to witness. To be so familiar with the Bible that you are at home with it and love to open to different parts and just read a little. Yes, it is a wonderful thing to see. This week there was a wonderful Gospel reading of the parable of the sower. Our Lord tells us the seed is the word of God.
It just so happened that our 6 year old son had planted a parsley seed in a cup at Sunday School a few weeks ago and placed it on the radiator to help it sprout. As I looked at the Bible this week and the little seed sprouted next to it, the symbolism was not lost on me. Our Lord desires that the seed or word of God will fall on fertile ground...what better soil then the pure soil of a child’s soul. Even in the heart of a parent such a seed can grow with time. Yet if it had taken deep root as a little person how much more firmly rooted would it be now. May I humbly invite those reading this to find your Bible or if you don’t have one purchase one. Put it out in a prominent place in your home and open it. If you are new to the Bible start with simple Bible stories and then progress as we did. Our Lord calls us to be like children and to be humble. If we come with a willingness to learn He will take us by the hand and teach us as he has done with these children.
"But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold"(Mark 4:20)