Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 16, 2000
A Bible tailored to Catholic Women
Catholic Women's Devotional Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (featuring daily meditations and a reading plan tied to the Lectionary), Grand Rapids, Mich., Zondervan Publishing House, 1,793 pages. 2000. Hardcover.
Review by WAYNE HOLST
Special to the WCR
Personal Bible-reading and lay-led group Scripture study have not always been a commonly accepted practice by faithful Catholics. Since Vatican II, however, the use of the Bible for private and communal devotions has been encouraged.
The Catholic Women's Devotional Bible is unique because it has been designed specifically to nurture a woman's spirituality. This edition makes it easy for modern women to develop a habit of daily prayer and reading.
In addition to the basic text which has been approved by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, a year's worth of meditations are included. These reflections are drawn from classic and contemporary sources, all written by women.
This Bible is designed especially to meet Catholic needs and those accustomed to liturgically based forms of worship. It includes a six-year reading plan, tied to the Lectionary, making it easy to locate readings for daily and Sunday liturgies.
Additionally, each weekend devotional is based on the life of a particular woman of the Bible. This helps readers to see the relevance of her story for our times.
Each book of the Bible is preceded by a brief introduction, highlighting the historical context and important themes.
Additional articles focus on the sacraments, holy days, the liturgy and spiritual direction. The links between tradition and Scripture are clarified to help the reader gain a greater understanding of her faith.
Devotional contributors include Catherine of Siena, Dorothy Day, Julian of Norwich, Mother Teresa, and Therese de Lisieux.
Special themes focus on everyday issues such as relationships, marriage, childrearing, simplicity, prayer, and finding real peace.
The layout is attractive. Scripture sections appear in normal biblical format. The meditations are shown in contrast to the text with a light purple background. This makes for easy reading and serves as an attractive complement to Scripture.
Women have traditionally served as the spiritual backbone for their families. But women have not always been provided with biblical and devotional resources to maximize the gifts they have to offer their loved ones.
The publishers provide a fine service to the Catholic constituency by offering the Bible in this particular format.
Women have also become adept at reaching out to non-Catholic but Christian friends and have learned to share their faith in ecumenical caring and support groups.
This edition could also serve women whose backgrounds may differ. Not only is the scriptural text something with which they might be familiar in their own churches, but the meditations should attract a wide audience.
In the past, the Catholic Church counted on its clergy and other religious to provide Scripture interpretation and leadership. That is no longer possible.
Individuals and small groups are frequently left on their own and may feel inadequate. This book will give its readers confidence that what is found here, coupled with personal experience, can be both inspirational and useful in a variety of circumstances.
(Rev. Dr. Wayne Holst is a lecturer in religion and culture at the University of Calgary.)