More Than Once

21 Sep

“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.”  ~ C.S. Lewis

I have certain go-to books.  When I want a quick read, I have a couple of brief mysteries.  When I want something in depth, I have biographical books and religious tomes.  When I want some good, old-fashioned prayer, I have some worn prayer books.  None of those books have been read just once.  Several of those books have been replaced more than once because the originals fell apart.

We cannot immerse ourselves into something just once.  We have to go back to it over and over again.  Every time we do so, we find that we glean something new.  I have read several books over the years and different characters jumped out at me that I didn’t pay attention to in earlier reads.  Different themes presented themselves.  Different lessons were learned.

If you read the Bible — and we all should — you definitely need to read the Bible more than once.  You know for yourself that, if you have favorite Bible stories, they change each time you read them.  Recently, the Gospel at Mass was about the Prodigal Son.  That story, alone, has many versions.  It can be viewed from the perspective of the son, or of his brother, or of the father.  It can be viewed as a parable about our Father.  Each time we read it, we place ourselves in a different character because of where we are at in any moment of our lives.

Repetition is good.  It forms habits that serve us well.  It helps us to immerse ourselves into whatever it is we are doing.  A multimillionaire baseball player did not get that way by hitting one ball.  A famous actor did not get that way by learning one line.  A saint did not get that way by doing one good deed or saying one prayer.  Our lives are built word by word, intention by intention, and action by action.

We have to be people of faith more than once.

FAITH ACTION:  Consider volunteering in a parish ministry or a local charity so that you can do good works on a continual basis.