by Christine Frech, March 2022
Over the past few years, these resources have really made Jesus come alive for me. They helped me make the transition of knowing Jesus in my head to knowing Jesus in my heart. i.e. knowing who Jesus was as a historical figure, to knowing Jesus as a friend.
JESUS & THE BIBLE
The Bible: We highly recommend the Catholic Youth Bible for all ages. It has great explanations and sidebars and graphics to help your interpretation.
Article/Homily Video: Making Christ the Center of Your Life
by Bishop Robert Barron. I need to find his homily video where he goes into more detail, but Bishop Barron describes how Rose Windows of medieval cathedrals were used as teaching tools for the illiterate. In short, if your life is centered on Christ, you can weather the ups and downs. This is very comforting to me.
Book: Jesus, A Pilgrimage
by Fr. James Martin, SJ. I read this book last summer and couldn’t put it down! After reading this book, I felt my relationship with Jesus transform. I read it cover to cover, but each chapter is based on a specific place/passage in the New Testament, so you can skip around, too. Here’s the description from Amazon, and I couldn’t have written it better myself:
James Martin, SJ, gifted storyteller, brings the Gospels to life and invites believers and seekers alike to experience Jesus through Scripture, prayer, and travel.
Father Martin ushers you into Jesus’ life and times and shows us how Jesus speaks to us today through combining studies of the historical Jesus with spiritual insights about the Christ of faith, recreating the world of first-century Galilee and Judea.
Martin also brings together the most up-to-date Scripture scholarship, wise spiritual reflections, and lighthearted stories about traveling through the Holy Land with a fellow (and funny) Jesuit, visiting important sites in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Stories about Jesus’ astonishing life and ministry—clever parables that upended everyone’s expectations, incredible healings that convinced even skeptics, nature miracles that dazzled the dumbstruck disciples—can seem far removed from our own daily lives but in Jesus you will come to know him as Father Martin knows him: Messiah and Savior, as well as friend and brother.
Also by Fr. James Martin, I liked Learning to Pray, The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, A Spirituality for Real Life, and My Life with the Saints. Every chapter is about a saint that is special to Fr. Jim, and again, you can pick and choose chapters to read.
Zoom: Breaking Open the Word
. Several of us meet on Zoom on Tuesdays at 10am to read the upcoming Sunday’s Gospel, then “break it open” / discuss it. This group has been crucial for me getting to know Jesus better. Everyone shares their insights, what “struck them” in the Gospel passage, and even what they may have learned in the past. We always leave the meeting with a few “gems” for everyday life. No experience is necessary!
Podcast: Fr. Mike Schmitz Bible in a Year
podcast is fantastic. He actually gets you excited about listening to what I previously thought were long, boring passages from the Old Testament. (I’m on day 61, doing it at my own pace.) Listening to the “source material” in the Old Testament has helped me understand lots of our Catholic traditions. Fr. Mike reads a few chapters based on Jeff Cavins’s Bible in a Year
reading plan which is brilliant. Then he prays and breaks down what he read and what we need to take out of it. I listen to this in the car when my rides are over 25 minutes.
Hallow is a Catholic Prayer and Meditation App, (started by Notre Dame grads:-
) and that’s where I get the Bible in a Year podcast. Hallow has lots of other great options and I try them from time to time.
Book: The Jesus Women
and 12 Strong Women of God: Biblical Models for Today
by Marci Alborghetti. These books each take 12 women from the New and Old Testament and build a possible story arc around what is known of them. She includes the Bible passages, a meditation and discussion questions for each one. We used these books as a basis for a Bible Study with Dr. Peg Hanrahan. Really puts you in the story and gets you thinking about the women in the Bible.
Pamphlet: The Gospels Side by Side.
I use this reference a lot when I’m in “Breaking Open the Word”, to see other versions of a Gospel story.
Bulletin Insert: Bringing Home the Word.
A lectionary-based newsletter that provides valuable insights on Sunday’s readings. We print and place this inside our weekly bulletins.
Website: USCCB.ORG is a great resource for the text of the Bible and daily readings, prayer, anything Catholic, really. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.\
Book: 6 Ways to Pray from 6 Great Saints.
This is my all-time favorite book on prayer. It’s practical, direct and gets to the heart of how St. Francis, St. Clare, St. Ignatius, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross prayed and who they were.
Booklet: The St. Josaphat Parish Prayer Guidebook.
The parish staff edited this booklet on prayer, how to develop a prayer life, the different types of Catholic prayer, and favorite prayers. There are copies available at the back of church or by contacting the Parish Office.
Booklet: Word Among Us
This booklet contains the daily Mass readings and prayers, a meditation for each day, and a few spiritual articles. There is an edition for each month/season and it is available at the church entrances. I like to end my day with this.
Booklet: The Little Black,White, Blue Books
These little booklets are great to pray with - only 6 minutes a day - during the Lent, Easter and Advent seasons. Available at the church entrances.Booklet: Living Faith Kids Daily Catholic Devotions
These quarterly booklets have a daily 2 minute story and prayer based on a Bible verse from that day’s readings. I have prayed these nightly with Sofia for years, and they’re good for me, too. They also give good fodder for conversation.
Book: The Prayer Wheel
A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual PracticeI found this concept fascinating. Evidently there was an ancient “dial a prayer” wheel in the 11th-12th century that was recently discovered. It’s based on the Our Father + 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit + 7 Events in the life of Christ + Beatitudes.