Thursday 7 December 2023

A Year With the Bible 365 Daily Reflections - Henry Wansbrough OSB - CTS Scriptures

A Year With the Bible - 365 Daily Reflections
ISBN 9781784696184
CTS Booklet SC126

I read this volume over the last year, and plan on starting it again on January first and reading it through again. While reading this I was also reading Companion to the Sunday Gospels Year A, also by Dom Henry, and last year I read Year C. The year prior to reading this I also read:

All which contain introductions by Dom Henry. About Dom Henry we are informed:

“Dom Henry Wansbrough, OSB, is a renowned biblical scholar who regularly writes exegesis and reflections on scripture. He recently completed a new translation of the Bible, the Revised New Jerusalem Bible. He is a Benedictine based at Ampleforth Abbey.” 

This volume is set out with a page a year. The sections in the book are:

PART ONE - The Law and Historical Books 
     Days 1-110
PART TWO - The Wisdom Books and The Prophets
     Days 111-212
PART THREE -The Gospels and Acts 
     Days 213-297
PART FOUR - Pauline Letters, Letters to All Christians
and Revelation 
     Days 297-365
Appendix: The Bible in 365 Passages to Read 

The preface states:

“It has been a pleasure to respond to the request of the Catholic Truth Society to write this book. Its aim is to help readers come to a fuller knowledge and love of the Bible. My plan has been to explore the whole thrust of the Bible, drawing on a wide variety of passages which cast light on the purpose of the Bible, to lay out God's gradual revelation of the divine love in the history of Israel, how God guided individuals and Israel itself to a greater knowledge of God's loving mercy and purposes for humanity. This may be seen in the divine choice of individuals and in the guidance of history through thick and thin, leading up to the climax of history in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the Good News to the nations by his Apostles and chosen messengers.

This is a work of love. It is not to be rushed; the comments must be read and enjoyed in partnership with the biblical texts commented, perhaps first, perhaps afterwards, but always in partnership with the biblical texts and in peace and prayer. This is the manner of the age-old monastic tradition of lectio divina, a meditative reading of the scriptures.

The passages chosen are laid out in the order in which they occur in the Christian Bible. They are set out according to the four traditional divisions: the Law (leading into the Histories), the Prophets and the 'Wisdom Books of the Old Testament, then the New Testament. It is probably most coherent to read them in that order, which lights up the gradual progress of revelation. Don't worry if you miss a day; just pick up from where you left off, but keep to the order of passages rather than the day of the year. Some may prefer to alternate passages from the Old and the New Testaments.

In an appendix is given a suggested order for a reader who wishes to cover the whole Bible through each day of the year. There may be readers who wish to make a point of reading the whole Bible in a single year. For them a plan is given in the Appendix, allotting a passage to each day. Most of these passages contain a section commented, though not necessarily on that day. Nevertheless, these commentaries should bring to the surface the meaning and importance of the passage. Any translation of the Bible may be used, but you may find the New Revised Standard Version, the English Standard Version, the Jerusalem Bible or the Revised New Jerusalem Bible the most satisfactory.”

A sample reflection is:

Day 15
Genesis 42-45
Joseph's Revenge on his Brothers

The story of Joseph includes a number of pairs: two stories of the sale of Joseph to merchants, two officials in prison, two pairs of dreams. In the course of the drama of the recognition of Joseph there are more pairs: two expeditions, two interviews, two tricks played by Joseph on his brothers. But the real fascination of the story is its irony: Joseph's original dream of lording it over his brothers comes true. 'The brothers who engineered Joseph's captivity in Egypt are now struggling to save his brother Benjamin from the same fate. The imprisonment of Simeon echoes the imprisonment of Joseph himself long ago. The supposed 'then' of Joseph's divination-cup by his brothers alludes to the young Joseph's divining that he would dominate them.

A further feature is the character-drawing: the characters remain the same as they always were. Old Jacob is crotchety and full of self-pity. He lectures his sons (who must all themselves be fathers) on a father's love. But he insists on getting his own way, and continues to treat Benjamin as a child, though he must be at least a young adult by now. Reuben, who had tried to help Joseph, is again the generous one, and offers his own children as hostages. He asks that Benjamin be put in his care, suggesting that he is more curing than the others. By contrast, the rough Judah, who originally proposed the sale of Joseph, is now rough to his old father and delivers the ultimatum to him which finally tips the scales.

The most serious point of all, however, is the whole-hearted repentance of all the brothers. They had ridden roughshod over their father's feelings in depriving him of Joseph, but they now recognise his grief and are careful to protect him. The lack of family affection which had led to Joseph's deportation is reversed by the joyful family reunion.

Question: Is Joseph's teasing of his brothers justifiable?”

I hope that sample reflection give you a feel for this volume. It is an excellent resource and one I can easily recommend. I just wish there was an eBook edition. It was wonderful to read these reflections over the year. It is great to pick up and read over the year. I can easily recommend this volume.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Henry Wansbrough OSB:
CTS Books:
36 Days & 36 Ways Daily Meditations from Advent to the Epiphany Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year A
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year C
A Year with the Bible: 365 Daily Reflections
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: The Year of Mercy
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: Year B
Jesus: The Real Evidence
The CTS New Catholic Bible (Editor)

Other Books:
40 Days With Paul
Benedictines In Oxford (Editor)
Children's Atlas Of The Bible: A Photographic Account Of The Journeys In The Bible From Abraham To St. Paul
Doubleday Bible Commentary: Genesis
Doubleday Bible Commentary: The Gospel of Luke
Event And Interpretation
In the Beginning
Introducing the New Testament
Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition
Luke: A Bible Commentary For Every Day
Mark and Matthew
Risen from the Dead
Sunday Word: A Commentary on the Sunday Readings
The Bible A Reader's Guide: Summaries, Commentaries, Color Coding for Key Themes
The Gospel of Matthew: Take and Read (Editor)
The Gospels: Take and Read
The Holy Spirit
The Incarnation
The Lion and the Bull: The Gospels of Mark and Luke
The New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The New Testament of the New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The Passion
The Passion And Death Of Jesus
The Resurrection
The Spck Bible Guide
The Story of Jesus
The Story of Jesus: Photographed as If You Were There!
The Story Of The Bible: How It Came To Us
The Use and Abuse of the Bible: A Brief History of Biblical Interpretation

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