Wednesday, March 12, 2008

3. Read the Scriptures regularly.

Hello, everyone!

Our poster for today just got back from a long trip and we haven't connected yet -- so I thought I'd just get the discussion going.

How often do you read the Scriptures? Do you have a "system," or do you just crack it open? (I'll let someone else tell the old joke . . . )

For any Mac people, there's a great Dashboard Widget here that will bring up the saints and readings of the day for you. I use that sometimes, but I have to admit, I'm not very good about remembering.


Ina said...

Last year Ben gave a talk during Lent where he mentioned that the Fathers say that the Psalms are the 'soil' in which the virtues grow. I remembered that my dear hubby often talked of his love for the Psalms when we first met 28 years ago and I just sort of scratched my head. Then I met Mary Riordan who has a system for reading the Psalms daily. So though I had never been much attached to the Psalms but am always in need of better soil I searched around for the Ortho way to "do" Psalms. I found a variety of things listed and made my own non-monastic system. Ironically I have really come to feel filled by doing it in addition to the daily reading prescribed by the church. I am constantly amazed at how many of our Ortho prayers are a direct lift. When I hear them in services now they do not seem like 'long' parts to be endured but familiar old friends. Now with the notes in the new study Bible they are also more 'alive'.
If one is not in the habit of doing a daily Bible reading I would NOT start now by using the prescribed readings during Lent. They are all Old Testament and are meant to be long and hard slogging according to Fr. Gregory. You might try just reading the Gospels including the new notes. I have learned so much from the notes in the last couple weeks since getting the new study Bible. I also love it that I have been reduced to the level of all those kids I taught for years trying to learn the 'new' chapter names and new order of books of the Bible!

Emily said...

Ina, you are right about that; I always smile several times while we are keeping vigil for someone who has fallen asleep (or on Holy Friday) because there are so many "familiar" spots in the texts. What a blessing to have services that are so grounded in Scripture.

For those who don't know, the 6 Psalms of Matins are broken up to be read during the week as follows:

Monday: Psalm 89
Tuesday: Psalm 100
Wednesday: Psalm 3
Thursday: Psalm 62
Friday: Psalm 102
Saturday and Sunday: Psalm 5

So, if you don't read the Psalms at all, you could start there!

Colleen said...

My life has seen a series of Bible reading methods, from personal devotions to group studies and even reading the entire Old and New Testament through (and yes, the Apocrypha, too) for college Bible classes. The liturgical daily readings have worked best for me, but probably because it's right there in writing and I like following lists...
A new development in our family is that Cal and I have been doing evening prayers together instead of separately, and have included the daily readings. I'm finding that sitting there quietly, listening to someone read it, has really helped me to focus and hear God speaking. It also helps to have a little accountability to keep the system going. "Okay, honey, let's do our prayers..."

Laura said...

Speaking of Psalms...I just discovered this today. I hope the link works in the comments. I like that I can sort of pick how much I can take in one day, either an entire Kathisma or just one psalm from the kathisma.

A couple of years ago, I read through the psalter twice during Lent. It was really edifying, but I've never managed to repeat the feat. We read the daily scriptures together as a family in the evenings and then do a short round of evening prayers with the kids. Just a good habit for all of us to try and stay in.

Here's that link:

Carla said... is good that it is Lent, a time for focusing on our sins and weaknesses, because I am reading all of your wonderful comments and coming face-to-face with my blatant slothfulness. It is a rude awakening, to say the least. Having come from a very Bible-centered Protestant life, I have spent very little time reading the Bible for the past 5 years after becoming Orthodox, sort of as a reaction against the head-knowledge mentality that left my heart feeling empty. So thank you, dear sisters, for helping me to enter into the true spirit of Lent as I let this all sink into the depths of my heart, and look to God to help me make a new effort.

Debra Mattingly AACPL said...

This has been hard for me for many years. Trying to find the 'time.' I like the daily readings because they are with my bible and prayer book in our Icon corner and it is easy to follow. I usually read at two of the 3 sections. I'm trying during this Lent to read all 3. My time is in the morning before breakfast. This is also the time for my first prayers of the day. But sometimes I get rushed trying to get Frye and myself off to school and work with breakfasts and lunches to fix.
I agree that I'm enjoying the new Orthodox study bible and all its notes.

Ina said...

I noticed that the Evening Daily Psalms have been omitted from the new Study Bible:new numbering
Sunday- Ps 69
Monday- Ps 142
Tuesday-Ps 140
Wednesday- Ps 129
Thursday- 129
Friday-Ps 16
Saturday- Ps 50

Anonymous said...

Reading the Scriptures daily is my goal, which I try to do right before bed in order to have God's word in my final waking thoughts. Also, bedtime is the best time for me to focus with the fewest distractions. I was advised
by my spiritual father to choose a regular time, and to read at least a few verses a day and meditate upon them. I learned to love the Scriptures when my parents started teaching me to read and memorize verses as a young child. Now, the Bible continues to be very precious for many reasons: a powerful "medicine" for my spiritual condition!--OrthoLady

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.