May 31, 2019

Editorial

Got stress? The Bible just might be your remedy

The resources we have available on our journey of faith are endless.

We can peruse the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Encyclopedia, book on saints and by saints, and so many other resources as we try and become more Christlike while living out our life’s vocation.

But maybe some of us—and maybe even more of us than we’d like to admit—have forgotten about the greatest book available for us on our faith journey: the Bible.

Stop and think about it: there is surely one in your home; and we see them in churches, adoration chapels, and thanks to Gideons International, in many hotels when we make those out-of-town trips for business or pleasure.

But does that book play a central role in our lives—as in taking the time to open it up, read it and reflect on God’s word—beyond the readings shared at daily or weekly Mass? If it doesn’t, maybe it should. And if it did, maybe it would assist us in more ways than we thought possible.

According to a recent survey, the Bible was a huge benefit to women who use it as part of a study group.

A story posted on Catholic News Service (CNS) on May 23 revealed that women participating in the Walking with Purpose Bible study program at parishes around the country reported the courses had a positive impact on their attitudes and lifestyle, in addition to being a source of inspiration and a tool to bring them closer to God.

According to the survey conducted by Walking with Purpose (walkingwithapurpose.com), a nonprofit organization based in Greenwich, Conn., women who participated in the program cited increased patience, reduced stress, and improved relationships with family and friends as benefits of the program.

Walking with Purpose was founded in 2002 by Lisa Brenninkmeyer. A convert to Catholicism, she “saw a lack of fresh, relevant Bible studies that could cater to young mothers and took it upon herself to create one with the support of her Maryland parish.”

In the last year alone, the organization has helped more than

35,000 women “deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ,” a press release said.

The program impacted participants’ lives in other ways, too. Ninety-one percent of women reported they are either somewhat or significantly able to better manage stress, and 94 percent indicated that they are somewhat or significantly more patient with others.

“The Walking with Purpose Bible study has taught me that God wants me to live a joyful life, to live strengthened, to not be stressed,” said one respondent. “That has greatly impacted my personal life; I am a happier, more grateful person and I can keep the stress in my life in perspective.”

Another commented that “the friendships and bonds created among the women of our community are directly attributable to Walking with Purpose,” while another wrote, “I now appreciate family and friends more than I ever had.”

Ninety percent of survey respondents reported that their relationships with family members have improved because of the group Bible study; 93 percent said friendships have grown or improved.

Said Brenninkmeyer, “I’ve spoken with countless women at dozens of parishes over the years, and it always warms my heart to hear how their lives are being transformed by Walking with Purpose, in so many ways. When you put Christ first in your life, the rest falls into place.”

With the secularist mentality that so many in society try and push into our lives and homes, it is a challenge to put Christ first in today’s world. But our faith reminds us it’s our duty as Catholics.

We also cannot stress enough how much we believe that taking part in this Bible study program as a community played a significant role for these women.

We must do all we can to make sure no one ever feels alone as they face life’s challenges.

And let’s not forget what our faith teaches us: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20).

—Mike Krokos

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