There is a good shift that happens with the start of school. We go from vacation mode (which is important but has its time and place) to growing mode (which also has its time and place). The kids are back in school, Religious Education classes will start the first part of October, and other ministries pick up. Classes for those interested in becoming Catholic start here in September.
While I am no longer in school, I appreciate the reminder that comes with this season—we are all called to continue growing in our faith. I heard over and over again in Seminary that formation doesn’t stop with ordination. But on the other side of that equation, I can attest to how easy it is to not make time for ongoing study and growth. Has my spiritual life stalled out or am I striving to grow in some way?
This is a great time of the year to reevaluate and make sure we are taking some steps to grow. Plug into something. Our seminarian James will be leading a Bible study this fall on the Gospel of Mark. Sacred Heart Bible Study meets on Wednesdays at 6:00pm in the parish hall on September 20, October 4 & 18, November 15 & 29 and December 13th. St. Mary on the Lake Bible Study meets on Thursdays at 10:00 am in the parish hall on September 21, October 5 & 19, November 16 & 30 and December 14.
Pick up a book on the faith, really any book. One you might enjoy if you are looking for a recommendation is “Bible Basics for Catholics: A new picture of Salvation History” by John Bergsma. https://www.amazon.com/Bible-Basics-Catholics-Picture-Salvation/dp/1594712913/ref=sr_1_1?crid=39ZF7SVLJXWN3&keywords=bible+basics+for+catholics&qid=1693602690&s=books&sprefix=bible+basic%2Cstripbooks%2C118&sr=1-1 Mr. Bergsma is a Biblical Professor and has many excellent books on Scripture and you can easily build from here.
If you are looking for a more systematic way to study particular books, I would recommend the “The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (CCSS)” series. https://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Commentary-Sacred-Scripture-Testament/dp/1540962229 There are now 17 volumes that cover the New Testament. You don’t need to buy the whole set, but can buy individual books on whatever part you would like to study more. They are very well done, being both accessible and meditative in helping you enter into what you have been studying. Any good scripture study will always lead us back to prayer and deeper into that prayer.
For those with a commute I would highly recommend Fr. Mike Schmitz’s podcasts. For something more robust he has The Bible in a Year, or The Catechism in a Year available on any podcast platform you have on your phone. He also has his own podcast where he answers questions with short 8–10 minute explanations. https://media.ascensionpress.com/category/ascension-podcasts/frmikepodcast/ He has over 400 sessions so I would recommend going through and downloading the questions you want to know more about and then listen as you drive.
What is beautiful about the faith is that it is about a person, so the more you know, the more you want to know. Light this fire this fall and see how the Lord helps you grow!