Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bibles and Cell Phones

I don't know about you, but I've seen this image popping up on Facebook and Twitter lately. Does it look familiar? If you haven't looked at any of the pictures that I've posted, I highly encourage to the point of pleading please look at this one.

I don't know about you, but I am usually lost without my cell phone. I check my mail, my bank balance, play games, Facebook, this blog, communicate, and even pray with it in my hands. I'm bored waiting for an appointment, let's play Temple Run 2. Trying to better plan out my day, lets look at Evernote or my calendars. Trying to get some deeper level of prayer in adoration, try Laudate or iBreviary. (Yes I have used my cell phone as a prayer book in Adoration. Yes I've had to explain it to little old ladies. It is embarrassing.) But I am completely and thoroughly attached to this electronic leash that I can't get rid of.
Then I look at my Bible. I have two which are mine and a couple dozen floating around my office that occasionally make their way home too. But of the two that are my own I have one that is a paperback, slightly dog eared at the corners and never written in. The other has been graffitied, decorated, highlighted, has a broken spine, pages falling out, duct tape and smoke damaged. I shouldn't use it as a reading Bible but it serves a much deeper reminder.
My very worn Bible. Can you see where the cracked spine is?

I look at the above image and acknowledge, that even though I access prayer apps and occasionally the daily readings on my phone, my Bible lays stagnant.  I can't help but get mentally caught on the "... turned back to get it if we forgot it?"

The spine has broken here completely in half. The two halves are held with duct tape.
When I was 22, I was student teaching, preparing for end of year finals which I was writing the finals for students. I was living with my extended family when their home was caught in a house fire. It was a huge fire that impacted two other houses that were nearby. When I was trying to get my composure and get out I grabbed my Bible, cell phone and other necessities. I couldn't think clearly until I heard in my head "drop everything and get out" in my father's voice. My father was a firefighter and always stressed the need to get out when a fire struck. I thought I had dropped everything when I ran downstairs and saw my cousin, (who's about 65) on the phone in his kitchen calling 911 as I'm watching the sliding glass door 10 feet behind him melting in an oozy pile of orange glass. I yelled at him to get out scooped up my shoes and ran outside.

In the few moments after I hit the fresh air I looked and saw that I was wearing shoes with my pajamas and holding my cell phone. I used my phone to call my family and try to find a place to stay but my beloved Bible was dropped from my hands and was sitting on the floor of the bedroom where I had been staying. Once the fire was completely put out, I was able to go back in and I got my Bible.

Evidence of smoke damage in the front cover

I was at a crisis of faith. I had chosen to leave an object significant of my faith behind when I had the chance. I wasn't proud of that and I wanted to leave the church behind. I was simply going through the motions of faith because I knew it would make my family happy. After brooding and being bitter about it, I worked my way back to going to Confession. The priest that heard me had only been ordained the day before. He was new, I was in pain and he truly had the graces from God I needed to come back fully to church, even though I never fully left.

As Catholics we declare that the Bible in its entirety is the Divinely inspired Word of God. It is a true gift of faith to be utilized, studied and prayed with. I wasn't proud that I left my Bible in such a hurried disordered way. Living a life, regardless of how short it was without the word of God was painful. The very top image illustrates quite poignantly why the Bible is important in our lives and what would the impact be if we had the same need for the Word of God as we did Facebook or Twitter.

This Bible in particular I received while on retreat and in the front cover was a message which I am glad to share with you.