How many of us belong to book clubs? How many books we have read! Wouldn’t you be keen to get your hands on the world’s bestselling book?
On the weekend of 5th – 6th of August 2017, we found ourselves at a retreat in Singapore offered by Sister Inigo, SSA of India. This is the second time this year that she came to Singapore by invitation of Good Shepherd Convent Restful Waters.
Sr Inigo came to help us better understand, love and appreciate the Bible, still the first among books and our source of spiritual understanding and inspiration.
At 40+, once again the group in attendance was far bigger than first envisaged and once again her message was so warmly received that already people are asking for more. And already we are putting into action her recommendations.
The Bible remains the world’s number one best seller. Yet only one person in the group of 40+ attendees at the retreat had actually read it right through. The invitation that Sr Inigo made was for us to read it at least once!
She gave so much insightful commentary on who some of the writers of the Bible were and who their audience was and what the purpose of the writing was, that the effect was to inspire and motivate us to commit to reading and studying it for ourselves.
After day one, seven of us at Restful Waters formed a Bible club called 73BC. The name relates to the fact that there are 73 books included in the Bible. We grouped on WhatsApp and I can see how it will be a supportive group, encouraging each other to read. The first person to declare via WhatsApp that she had read 7 chapters of Genesis, got warm congratulations from the group. I was spurred on right away to read 7 chapters myself! On the second morning I read one more and really enjoyed the shared reflections on the readings at breakfast time.
I can see that the idea of regular discussion about the readings will have a great effect. Together we learn more.
I’m from Australia, my inclusion in the WhatsApp group will keep me connected and as a result I feel sure I’m so much more likely to keep reading.
In response to Sr Inigo’s ideas, in addition to the group’s idea of a Bible club I also had thoughts about how to get things started in my own parish back at home. I could hear others expressing similar ideas. One of my thoughts is to see if I can assist in promoting more fellowship and connection among parishioners.
As we commenced day two I wondered what further projects and commitments would result from Sr Inigo’s retreat. She is an impressive speaker, an authoritative voice which inspires. She is clearly an accomplished academic with vast knowledge which she delivers with warmth, intelligence, wit and impeccable timing.
I’m sure we all felt that we could benefit from a long course of study with her and we shared the wish that she might be able to reach many more with her teachings.
Meanwhile the least we can do to show our gratitude for Sr Inigo’s time and care is to make our own commitment to read the world’s best seller, the Bible, right through at least once.
Here is some information that I found fascinating and helpful over the two days:
Mark had witnessed Jesus being arrested and in his Gospel writing was however the voice of Peter who was himself a man of action. Mark was interested in what Jesus did.
Matthew and Luke speak about the teachings of Jesus. Matthew wrote for new and young believers.
John as a Gospel writer was an old man, a mystic, and wrote for old believers. He didn’t want to repeat what others had written, he focused on who Jesus was, referring to Jesus as the Son of God.
God says, 'I am who I am'.
Sr Inigo encouraged us to meet with Jesus through the Words, and talked of the importance of passing on the Good News and proclaiming the Word.
She reminded us that we will suffer in our daily lives. We will suffer stress, burn out, and she asked us to look for renewal in the Word. 'The Word is where we see and find ourselves and will feel called to change.'
She says, 'If you go to the Word, you can’t hide and all comes out as you meet Jesus, and being heard, you will be healed.'
She implored us as does Pope Francis, to treat our Bible like our cell phone. To value it, to have it with us and to read it daily.
'We should be reflecting all our lives on the Gospel of the Good Shepherd.
Nothing is more related to our calling.' St Mary Euphrasia
Written by: Ms Rosalba Fogliani
6 August 2017