Where do you start from?
I felt there was no argument about this! Life begins with Matthew. The heart of Matthew is the sermon on the mount (Matthew: Chapters 5 through to 7) This tells you what the life of faith is and how to live it. And move on to chapter 25 and it will tell you clearly what happens if you do – and what happens if you don’t. It gives you what our American brothers and sisters call The Score!
But, Poor Clare Colettine life being a family community, I set out with my note book and enquired of my loved ones. I seized Mother Francesca as she was setting out to cook the dinner. Beloved Mother knows more about everything, and lives it better and loves us more than anyone I know. “If you are going to read the Bible where do you begin?” She said:
“For why?” I begged. “Because,” Mother said, “Acts is a picture of the life we live in the Spirit. It is the Church in all her humanness, enthusiasm and chaos. It is the Gospel of the Holy Spirit.”
My next interviewee was Sr Laetitia. She said unhesitatingly:
Why? Because he tells you who Jesus is. It is an encounter of the heart. The Word you are going to read becomes a person.
Mother Damian, Sr Bakhita and Sr Beata agreed, but they were not for starting there. They proposed:
Luke has the human touch, It starts with Christmas, which is familiar to most people. It has more narration (and less theology!)
I found Sr Isabella. She is a direct descendant of Abraham, in all senses. She is also our cartoonist! I was rather relieved when she said:
It is short, it is snappy and to the point. The author is on for doing it immediately and it does not take long to read!
I felt I had better not ask anyone else in my family! You see, the priest’s uncertainty is not unrealistic. Where you want to start depends to some extent on where you are – and who you are. As an unknown man in St Helen’s once said to a friend of the community with a van, when he was trying to find a hospital there, that having closed down had offered us beds: “Well, mate, I wouldn’t start from here, if I was you. But move up and I’ll come with you!”