“The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely; it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts.” (Heb 4:12-13 Jer. Bible) How many times have you read or heard this scripture? Do you believe it? I do. In a manner that is almost as mystical as transubstantiation, realize that every time we encounter the Word it is a living thing that takes residence in us. When we hear the Word it enters our spirit in one way but when we see it, cast our eyes upon it, it enters our soul in an even more potent way. Because the Word is a living thing, when we come in contact with it we will be changed! Encountering the Word, then, is a direct encounter with God. Too often we are not paying attention and simply let the living word just wash over us. We have missed a spirit changing opportunity when we allow this to happen.
For that reason, part of my daily spiritual discipline is to cast my eyes on the Gospel of the day and know that along with millions of others in the world I am seeking for the Lord to enter my person with that same teaching and I want to be changed. Whenever you have a personal encounter with the Gospel it would do you well to have a clear understanding of Hebrews 4:12 and respond accordingly. Pause a moment and then after hearing or reading the Word ask yourself: “How are you doing?” Maybe the Gospel has amazed you or fascinated you, annoyed you or amused you or aggravated you. How are you doing? Whatever the case may be, acknowledge the Living Word now in you.
As people who deal in things of faith it goes without saying that we each must have a daily spiritual routine. If you are doing faith based writing and you do not have a prayer routine, you are a liar! “Our external activity is all right but, obviously, it is not as important as our spiritual life, our life of recollection, of prayer, of our personal love for God” (Maximilian Kolbe in Stronger Than Hatred, A Collection of Spiritual Writings, Edward Flood, Tr., 1988.). I hope that particular attention to the Gospel is part of that routine. Even if you don’t do daily reading you are still a weekly or daily Mass attendee who encounters the Gospel on a regular basis. The Word comes to you often. Learn to acknowledge this living gift of God himself and make it a habit to “check in” every time the Word is presented to you. Realize that as a writer you are being formed by whatever the word is doing in you.
As God’s witness in the world your writing should be the fruit of that experience. Your prayer life and time with the Gospel should fuel that. You are one of the lucky ones who get to take in the Word of God and then create a word of your own. When people read your work they should have a sense that your writing is more than ordinary. You are a person who moves from the Word of God to a word for the people. Enjoy your privilege and realize its responsibilities.