February 16, 2024

Evangelization Outreach / Meagan Morrisey

College moments show how God’s word can transform young adults

Meagan MorriseyGoing to college marks many “firsts” for young adults—your first time living away from home, your first college class, your first serious boyfriend or girlfriend.

For me, freshman year marked my first-ever Bible study. As a new member in my sorority, all I wanted was to fit in.

So when Catherine, a popular and influential senior, invited me to her house for Bible study, I jumped at the chance.

Bible study wasn’t what I thought it would be. It wasn’t like my religion class, and it wasn’t like other small groups. My sorority sisters were shockingly real about what was going on in their lives. They were eager to dive deeply into Scripture and to share how it challenged them as college students. And it was clear that authentic friendships had formed between these women. I was hooked.

Ten years later, I’m even more convicted about the power of a small-group Bible study. I’ve led more than 70 women through the Scriptures, and time and again, I’ve seen God’s word transform the hearts and lives of young adults.

Why? Because we know that “the word of God is living and effective, sharper than a two-edged sword” (Heb 4:12). When you read the Bible or hear the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass, you are not hearing a nice reflection or story about God. You are encountering the living God, the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is alive, and he wants to encounter us in his word. Although we are blessed to live in a digital age, with amazing books and podcasts and videos at our fingertips, these are all pointless if we do not know what Jesus speaks to us in the Scriptures. The best way to get to know someone is to talk to them, to ask questions and to listen. The same is true for our sweet savior, Jesus Christ.

“When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart …” (Jer 15:16).

One of my favorite Bible study memories was with a group of sophomore college women. We were studying salvation history, and that week we were diving into the story of Abraham and Isaac. I asked one woman—we’ll say her name was Sarah—to read a section from the Book of Genesis when God asks Abraham to sacrifice “your son Isaac, your only son, whom you love …” (Gn 22:2).

Sarah stopped reading and threw her Bible across the room in a rage: “What is wrong with God? What kind of God asks that?” The room went silent, and all eyes stared wide-open at me, waiting for a response.

I remember smiling and saying, “Finally, you are encountering God!” While I didn’t leave Sarah’s question unanswered that night, I was thrilled to see she was open and ready to wrestle with God. These are the moments that make Bible study so powerful! It’s not a place to pretend like we have all the answers, it’s a place to ask hard questions and contemplate what God may be asking of us.

God is not the God of the dead, he is the God of the living (Mt 22:32). This Lent, you too can allow yourself to be transformed by the power of God’s word.

You don’t need to be a Scripture scholar to pray with the Bible. If you don’t know where to start, begin with the Gospels. Find a quiet place and invite Jesus to reveal himself to you. Read a few verses, then “pause at what gives you pause.” Ask Jesus what he is trying to say to you.

I know that Jesus wants to speak to you and encounter you deeply. During Lent, let us pray that we will be transformed by God’s word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).

(Meagan Morrisey is the director of the Office of Young Adult and College Campus Ministry within the archdiocesan department of Parish Leadership. She can be reached at mmorrisey@archindy.org.)

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