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Catholic Prayer: Family Spiritual Reading

Description:

In some families the Bible reading could be done daily, as Pope Pius XII suggested. This has the advantage of making the reading (and hearing) of God's word a regular practice by which we receive the daily bread of the divine word.

Prayer:

Let parents and children gather, conveniently and informally. The time which most people will consider best is probably some hour of the evening. If daily reading is impossible, it should be done twice or three times a week; even once a week is better than nothing. However, the days should be fixed, and the reading should never be omitted on these days for all those who can be present. I know one family where even the baby is always present (awake or asleep) because the parents do not want him to miss the blessing of God's word, although he cannot yet understand it.

A reading in continuations, following the text of a whole book (with the omission of obscure or not pertinent passages) will be more interesting and fruitful than a mere selection at random. Before great liturgical feasts, however, the respective passages from the Gospel should be taken.

A short paragraph, not more than a few minutes reading time, will suffice for one Bible reading. Parents and older children could take turns in reading aloud. Afterwards, the beauty, meaning and lesson of every detail should be discussed. Even little children should be encouraged to give their comment. Parents will often marvel at their insight and understanding. The discussion, of course, is to be made as concrete and interesting as possible. Father and mother might prepare some comments beforehand, to get the discussion going.

Don't read difficult and obscure passages unless you are able to give a correct, simple and satisfying explanation (which presupposes study on your part). Much of the Bible is quite clear and easily understood; but some passages of the Old Testament, or some letters of the New Testament, would be too obscure or too high for the grasp of a child's mind. As the Pope pointed out, the Gospels are the best subject matter for Bible reading in the family. A helpful book is The Holy Land by F. X. Weiser, S.J. (The Liturgical Press, 1964).

Prayer Source: Year of the Lord in the Christian Home, The (reprinted as Religious Customs in the Family) by Francis X. Weiser, S.J., The Liturgical Press; reprinted by TAN Books and Publishers, 1964
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