Around here, we are in the latter days of summer, and the garden flowers are in full bloom. We have tended the garden with weeding, feeding, and watering; it has been a dry summer. Taking care to sustain the growth has yielded vibrant blossoms.
This time of year, families begin to plan for returning to a school schedule. An early memory of my school days was that learning to read required more effort than I was prepared to give. Classroom reading groups were color-coded. I progressed very slowly through the array of colors.
When our children came home from school, and we’d ask them about their homework, sometimes they’d respond, “just reading.” Hmmm. Reading is learning.
What we read can inspire, promote growth, and inform. We need to discern wheat from chaff to evaluate if the content is valuable, truthful, worthy of reflection, or capable of changing me for the better – or maybe just good fun. Ideally, wisdom, prudence, and humility accompany us as we read. We need to tend the garden to sustain the growth.
When our children and grandchildren were young, we were delighted when they received books as gifts. Reading ignites the imagination and expands the world. Follow-up questions can help with reflection: Did you like the book? Favorite part? How did you feel? Do you think it’s true? What does it mean?
A book is a gift of discovery – about ourselves and the world around us. The pages provide avenues of growth and the habit of informed thinking.
In Luke’s gospel, there is a dramatic scene in which we find Jesus in the synagogue of His hometown (Luke 4:16-21). Given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus “unrolled the scroll,” selected the text, and read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19).
When we read the Scripture, indeed, anytime we pray, in a way, we “unroll the scroll.” We open our lives to welcome God’s Spirit to shape all we think and do. In seeking His will, we realize our greatest freedom.
Let our family prayer invite God’s Spirit to open our minds, sustain our growth, and expand our vision.
About John Dacey
John Dacey is a retired Catholic high school teacher. He has taught Scripture, Ethics, and Social Justice. He enjoys being in the company of family, reading in the field of spirituality, and gardening. John and his wife have been married for more than 40 years and have two children and four grandchildren.