A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Keeping God’s Word in Our Hearts

Posted on: February 1, 2016

Icon of the Holy Family

An icon of the Holy Family

When the shepherds came to see the baby Jesus and repeated what the angel of the Lord had told them about Jesus’ being the Christ, Mary “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19*).

And when Mary and Joseph found Jesus in Jerusalem after Passover, and Jesus told them he had to be in his Father’s house, “his mother kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51).

Do we keep these things—God’s promises, God’s word—in our hearts?

When my son was younger, his Sunday school class had a memory verse to learn each week, one of which was Psalm 119:11:

I have laid up your word in my heart,

that I might not sin against you.

This psalm, about “The Glories of God’s Law,” praises God’s word and reminds that we need to spend time reading the scriptures so that they can guide us:

I will meditate on your precepts,

and fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

I will not forget your word. (15-16)

 

Your testimonies are my delight,

they are my counselors. (24)

 

Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path. (105)

They remind us of God’s promise of salvation, giving us hope in tough times:

Let your mercy come to me, O LORD,

your salvation according to your promise;

then shall I have an answer for those who taunt me,

for I trust in your word. (41-42)

 

This is my comfort in my affliction

that your promise gives me life. (50)

 

I entreat your favor with all my heart;

be gracious to me according to your promise. (58)

 

You are my hiding place and my shield;

I hope in your word. (114)

 

Great peace have those who love your law;

nothing can make them stumble. (165)

And they remind us that God is almighty and always faithful:

For ever, O LORD, your word

is firmly fixed in the heavens.

Your faithfulness endures to all generations;

you have established the earth, and it stands fast. (89-90)

 

You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness

and in all faithfulness. (138)

We think of Lent as a time for taking up a spiritual discipline such as Bible study, but why not start now? If we don’t read God’s word regularly, here are a few easy ways to get started:

  • Read a psalm or two every day.
  • Read one of the Gospels.
  • Learn the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20:2-17 or Deuteronomy 5:6-21) or the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12).
  • Join a parish Bible study group.

Bible-in-a-year guides (such as the Coming Home Network’s free downloadable guide) can also motivate us to read the scriptures more often. And we can learn more about God’s word through the Catechism.

No matter what our age or stage in life, no matter whether we’re going through a wonderful time in our lives or a challenging one, God’s word holds guidance and hope and reminders of his faithfulness that we can treasure up in our hearts.

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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