“Ask the Deacon” features three Transitional Deacons who will be ordained June 3 to the priesthood in the Diocese of Providence — Deacons Brian Morris, Joseph Brice and Stephen Battey — who respond to questions about the faith from Rhode Island Catholic readers.
Q: How do we discover who God is, what his plan is for us, and what he wants us to do? Why did the saints devour the word of God?
Perhaps they found in them like Therese of Lisieux “a hidden, pure, and genuine manna.” Thus, it became part of their daily routine. It instructed their mind, shaped their desires, and informed their decisions. Mary pondered the word of God to the point it became enfleshed in her (cf. Luke 2:19). Here are a few basic reasons why we should be prayerful and reflect on the word of God daily.
• Do you want to understand who you are? Do you want to know your own story even before you live it? Do you want to see the human race in his beauty and ugliness and foibles, at his best and worst, acting like an angel today and behaving like a beast tomorrow? Then read scripture. There you will meet David — a man to whom God gives everything — pleasure, power, honor and wealth, yet he took a poor man’s wife and murdered him (2 Sam. 11-12:1-14). There you will learn the story of the Israelites — taken out of Egypt by God’s strong arm. Yet during 40 days without Moses to remind them of the word of God, they turned to idols (Ex. 32-34). There you will see what happens when people abuse their God-given power in the story of Naboth, Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 21). There you can meditate on the consequences of associating with those who cultivate no fear of God (1 Kings 11), discover the towering power of an unwavering faith in Susanna (Dan. 13), and ponder the depths of God’s mercy in the story of the prodigal son and the woman caught in adultery (Luke 15: 11-32; John 8:1-11). Scripture is our personal story. In it, we find ourselves.
• Would you like a complete guide for the 3 fundamental relationships that form the basis of life — God, neighbor, and ourselves? Look no further than the Bible. It provides the wisest and most prudent way to act with the wealthy when you are poor, with the young when you are old, and with authorities when you are a subject. What should we look for in a spouse? What is the regiment for a blessed and fruitful marriage? We only have to read the Books of Sirach and Proverbs to find out. Who am I? What am I afraid of? What should one do to attain eternal bliss? Only scripture tells us. How does one win friends and influence people to the right course of actions? That’s in scripture too. It is no doubt that the Bible is a library. Everything is in there. Read it in family, and among friends; treasure it; memorize it. That’s the recipe for a happy life.
• We forget easily. Interestingly, one of the most common phrases in the book of Deuteronomy is, “Remember O Israel, do not forget.” The human mind is darkened as a result of Original sin; our ability to remember God’s word is a perpetual struggle, and our desire to submit to it is weakened (cf. Rom. 7: 18-19). The remedy against this is to turn it into a habit. Constantly going back to scripture, analyzing it, mediating on it and contemplating allows it to sink in and become part of the very fabric of our inner being. Once it becomes ingrained in us, it starts becoming part of our thoughts, words, actions, habits and character. Character is our destiny; our destiny is heaven. Scripture tells us how to get there and the Church empowers us through the sacraments to help us on our journey.
Have a question? Ask the Deacon! Readers may submit questions for the deacons to consider by sending them to Editor@thericatholic.com.