Why Studying the Bible is Important
by Father Brian J. Soliven on Sunday February 11, 2024
Have you ever wanted to read the Bible but did not know where to start? The Bible can be intimidating for many. It’s filled with strange alien places and funny names that it can be difficult to grasp what’s happening. It’s similar to walking into a crowded theater mid-movie: you don’t know the plot, the main characters, or the drama unfolding on the screen. In much the same way, picking up the Bible for yourself can be a confusing mess. This Lent we will have an opportunity to get deeper into the Bible. I want to invite you all to St. Mary’s Lenten Parish Bible Study. We will have it both in Spanish and English. Starting on the eve of Ash Wednesday, we will meet one evening a week, throughout the season of Lent. We will focus on the Biblical events that we find in the ancient and well-known prayer of the Holy Rosary.
Why the rosary? Since the Middle Ages the rosary has been a powerful spiritual weapon during difficult periods of the Church’s history. In 1208, St. Dominic, a Spanish priest, working in France was battling against a heretical group known as the Albigensians (the name comes from the small town Albi in southern France where this group was flourishing). This heretical group was leading many Catholics away with their confusing teachings. They taught that everything physical is bad and only the spiritual is good. Therefore, our body is evil and if we truly want to be good Christians, we must reject all things of the flesh. Fr. Dominic prayed for guidance on how to combat this group, which was threatening to divide the Church. The rosary was given. This prayer focuses the mind to meditate upon the earthly life of Jesus Christ, directly contradicting the teachings of the Albigensians.
Then in 1571, a new threat emerged. The Islamic Ottoman Turks, which conquered much of Eastern Christianity, now began to threaten Western Europe. An alliance of Catholic nations stood between them and us. The two armies stood face to face on the morning of October 7th. Pope Pius V, realizing that Western Civilization was facing an existential threat, asked all faithful Catholics to pray the Holy Rosary for victory. Against all odds, our soldiers defeated the Turks, which was the largest empire in the 16th century. We commemorate this triumph in the Church every October 7th; it’s called the Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. As a parish named after the Blessed Mother, we now turn to this same prayer that our ancestors used during their own time. We face much confusion in the world today. We face challenges that threaten to tear our world apart. In the midst of these relentless storms, we turn to the Holy Rosary this Lent. Come to the parish Bible Study, where we shall learn the Biblical roots of this powerful spiritual weapon of the saints.