Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Back to reading the Bible with Laura Bernardini, week 26; halfway!

A Catholic reads the Bible, Week 26: Halfway to Revelation

Laura Bernardini is halfway through her yearlong project of reading the Bible from cover to cover.
This is week 26 of a yearlong series: A Catholic Reads the Bible. Read Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3. Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington Bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.
(CNN)This is Week 26, the midway point of my Year of Reading the Bible, so I decided to take this week to reflect on what I have learned.
Laura Bernardini
At first, I thought about doing a top 10 list, but that seemed too limiting and simple. But here is the big takeaway: I can't imagine my life without it. This has been one of the best experiences of my entire career.
    There have been times when I didn't look forward to reading the Bible. (I'm looking at you, 1 Maccabees and Numbers.) But the process has been good for my mind and soul.
    During the week, I find myself meditating on what I am going to write, and I haven't enjoyed writing this much since I was in Mr. Brown's English class in high school. After I submitted a story about visiting my family in Italy for the first time, Mr. Brown told me to always write with my voice and stay true to what I know. There are times during this process that I hear that advice in my head, almost 30 years later.
    There have been elements that I shed while taking notes that I probably should have included. I was so surprised at the grandeur of the Temple in 2 Chronicles that I went through a lengthy description of trying to find a Catholic Church in Atlanta in the mid-'90s.
    OK, maybe it's good that I left that part out.
    But I have also been influenced to practice my religion more. At first, I thought that I would need to attend Mass each week to avoid feeling like a hypocrite. That hasn't happened. But I have certainly improved on my estimated 60% attendance rate.
    And I want to take this opportunity to apologize to every priest, dating back to Monsignor Fradet and Father Holland, for perusing the bulletin while I was supposed to be listening to their homilies. I now listen to each word. I want to see how they construct their messages, the better to construct mine in these columns.
    I know that priests have it much harder because I don't have to present my work to an audience. But, in a small way, I do. In fact, I've found that one of my favorite parts of this project is all the people who want to talk about it -- my family and friends (Jewish, Christian and atheist), who haven't gotten bored with me yet, and who listen as I run ideas by them.
    I have even gotten Purim party invitations. I can't wait to try some hamantaschen cookies.
    And strangers have responded with emails, actual letters and tweets. I've smiled wide when people have told me that they have taken up the Bible and are following along. In short, this project has changed my life. Now on to Week 27.

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