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Shauna’h Fuegen invites Catholics to fall in love with God’s vast love for us by listening to the Bible in a Year podcast in 2022.

I love a fresh start. I especially love setting goals in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s such a quietly joyful time, full of hope and promise that’s been infused with the celebratory energy of the Christmas Octave. Have you considered making a 2022 goal of reading the entire Bible? If so, you’re in for a real treat.

The Bible in a Year podcast, featuring the charismatic and enthusiastic Fr. Mike Schmitz, was an absolute blockbuster in 2021. It debuted at #1 on Apple Podcasts and stayed consistently in the top charts all year. People are reading the Bible that have never made it past the book of Genesis in the past, and it is beautiful to see.

I began listening to the podcast on January 1, 2021. I did not expect a guided read of stories I’ve heard countless times to so thoroughly change the depth of my faith and understanding of God.

In episode 2, the podcast covers The Fall. In an initial read, it's hard not to see God's banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden as punishment from an angry Old Testament God. Mankind's subsequent pain and struggle associated with work and bringing forth life seems harsh for sneaking a bite of forbidden fruit, doesn't it? This is how I'd always interpreted this allegory, along with a more mature understanding, as an adult, that Adam and Eve's true sin wasn't eating something God forbade, it was their abandonment of trusting Him. And then Fr. Mike hit me over the head with one of those oversized anvils that take out Wile E. Coyote.


The truth of the matter is God doesn't simply want us to believe in Him. That's not the point. The point is not to believe in Him. The point is to belong to Him. (Fr. Mike Schmitz)


This was the beginning of my awakening to the radicalness of God's love for His people. For ME. To willingly belong to someone is extraordinarily intimate, and requires a vulnerability that, truthfully, I've always struggled with. It was easier for me to imagine God as a vague, powerful being; to imagine Jesus' miracles and mercy in a sort of beige "love your neighbors" sort of way. This idea of belonging tremendously challenged me. As a result my faith life, which has always been relatively strong, has up-leveled. The 'Bible in a Year' podcast has unlocked scripture for me and it has changed everything about how I approach my faith.


stained glass window of The Fall of Man


If God loves us this much, then how can we begin to return that love? It's an impossible level to measure up to, of course, but how do we live our lives in a spirit of truly being God's children? After Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden, Eve bears two children, Cain and Abel. As they grow older, the two brothers begin making their regular offerings to God, but one brother seems to gain God's favor over the other. Fr. Mike suggests that God accepted Abel's offering of firstlings from his flock and rejected Cain's offering from his harvest because Abel gave God his first and best work.


We can look at ourselves and say "what am I offering God? Do I give God the best or do I just give God whatever is left?" Because one offering is acceptable and gives glory to God, and the other offering might, in some ways, be meaningless. Not because it's meaningless to God, per se, but because it was meaningless to us. (Fr. Mike Schmitz)


To put this perspective of our lives, in what ways are we giving God whatever is left in our days? How often we realize we haven't prayed today, or this week, or this year because we were "too busy." Many a time has my prayer fallen by the wayside because I had planned to sneak a Rosary in before bedtime but then fell asleep, or because I was waiting for the perfectly quiet moment (which never came) in which to say Morning Prayer. Our lives are measured by the way we live our days, and our days are too often full of other priorities and idols of the modern world. We make time for what is important to us, so what does that say about the time we make for God each day?


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We make time for what is important to us, so what does that say about the time we make for God each day? #catholicmom

One small way I've been striving toward giving God my first fruits is by getting up before my children (a real cross to bear for this night owl), lighting a candle, and praying the Morning Offering. This small act has been a game changer for the time that I make for Him daily. I am on fire with love for God, a state which I find both exhilarating and deeply unsettling. Who is this woman I'm becoming? The jury is still out on that one, but I trust God's will for my life in a way I had not thought was possible.


Bible, candle, and tenner Rosary

Copyright 2022 Sauna'h Fuegen
Images: Canva Pro