The document is wonderful (and relatively short) a reflection on the importance of sacred scripture for the faithful. Reading, reflecting and praying on this apostolic letter will deepen your relationship with God as revealed in Scripture - even if you can only take a few minutes a day to read one paragraph at a time.
There are valuable lessons to be learnt in this document. I commend it to you. These points that follow I hope will help.
Reading Scripture on your own is important. There are many Bible translations/editions available, so if you need help getting the right Bible for you, feel free to speak with one of us. There are also online resources which may be of help such as Catholic Bible Online or one of the many apps which can be used on any mobile phone or handheld device.
- Scripture is also meant to be read publicly. Just as the people of Israel gathered to hear the reading of the law when they returned from exile, the Church gathers to publicly read Scripture. Every Mass requires a public proclamation of the word of God.
- When reading Scripture, both on our own and publicly, we are united as God's people. As Pope Francis writes, "The Bible is the book of the Lord's people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes them one people" (Aperuit Illis, 4).
- Throughout his apostolic letter, Pope Francis urges us to hear God's word and apply it in our lives. The Pope highlights that we should appreciate Scripture as a means by which: we know and love God; we encounter the Risen Lord; and we come to know and share the mercy of God with our brothers and sisters.
- Pope Francis calls on God's people to deepen their faith through Scripture. He writes, "A profound bond links sacred Scripture and the faith of believers. Since faith comes from hearing, and what is heard is based on the word of Christ, believers are bound to listen attentively to the word of the Lord, both in the celebration of the liturgy and in their personal prayer and reflection" (Aperuit Illis, 7).
- The Pope further highlights this link between Scripture and faith by looking at the Road to Emmaus story (Luke 24). He writes that this story clearly demonstrates the "unbreakable bond between sacred Scripture and the Eucharist" (Aperuit Illis, 8). If we want to grow more deeply in our love of the Eucharist, we need to grow more deeply in our love of Scripture.
- Pope Francis reminds us that we could not have the sacraments without Scripture. He writes, "Sacred Scripture and the sacraments are thus inseparable. When the sacraments are introduced and illumined by God's word, they become ever more clearly the goal of a process whereby Christ opens our minds and hearts to acknowledge his saving work" (Aperuit Illis, 8).
- Participating in the sacramental life of the Church is important, but the Pope commends another form of prayer, Lectio Divina. This method of prayer involves periods of reading Scripture and periods of meditation on Scripture. The Archbishop of Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins, leads Lectio Divina once a month at St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica and it is livestreamed for those who cannot attend in person. You can find more information at: https://www.archtoronto.org/lectio.
If you have never before opened a Bible, if praying with Scripture is part of your daily prayer life or if you fall somewhere in between, "may the Sunday of the Word of God help his people to grow in religious and intimate familiarity with the sacred Scriptures." (Aperuit Illis, 15).