The Pope Francis challenge: consult the Bible as often as your cellphone

This past Sunday Pope Francis challenged Catholics (again) to keep a pocket-Bible and return again and again to it throughout the day. He reflected, "What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones?”

Pope Francis explained how, "If we always carried God’s Word in our hearts, no temptation would distance us from the Father, and no obstacle would take us off the path towards good."

He then encouraged the faithful to carry a pocket-sized Bible so that it would be easy to consult throughout the day.

This is the not first time Pope Francis has brought up this subject, going so far as to distribute free pocket-sized Bibles during Lent of 2014. He explained to those gathered for the Sunday Angelus, "Last Sunday I suggested that you get a little copies of the gospels, to carry with you during the day, to read often. Then I thought over the ancient tradition of the Church, during Lent, to give the gospel to catechumens preparing for baptism. So today I want to offer to you who are here in the piazza - but as a sign for all - a pocket-sized gospel. They will be distributed to you freely...Take one, carry it with you: it is truly Jesus who speaks to you."

During that same year Pope Francis suggested that the morning commute would be a perfect time to open up your pocket-sized Bible and read a few verses from the Word of God.

What Pope Francis suggests is something many saints practiced. It consists of immersing a person's entire life with the Word of God to find comfort and inspiration on a daily basis. The beauty of the practice is that anyone can do it and it can take a matter of minutes to complete

There are many different versions available, including an English version of the pocket-Bible that Pope Francis distributed. It is available through the USCCB. Otherwise there is a very durable version available through Ignatius Press that is also a good option.

At the same time, there are numerous apps that have the entire Bible and so even though you may be looking at your cellphone, you are actually reading the Word of God. 

In the end, it is a wonderful practice and something we should all consider during this Lenten season.