A language for the stirrings of my heart

by Sr Crystal Anievas

Ask any sister of Sion in which three places one should look to find nourishment and guidance for life: without missing a beat she will say the Scriptures, nature, and the human heart.

Studying Scripture has helped me put the puzzle pieces of my spirituality together

It was instinctive for me to turn to nature and to my own heart in search of answers. But I found my knowledge and understanding of Scripture wanting. Before embarking on formal Scripture study as a sister of Sion, I engaged with the Word of God mainly through Lectio Divina, a form of reflective reading of the Bible. At best, certain biblical words or phrases stirred something within me that led to insight. During less inspired times, the Scriptures worked as a Magic 8-Ball would, or a fortune cookie consulted during a life conundrum. The elements of my spirituality were fragmented and I was not sure where the Scriptures fit in.

Studying Scripture has helped me put the puzzle pieces of my spirituality together. For instance, an in-depth look at the Creation narrative in Genesis revealed to me that God is not some foreign entity on a power trip floating in an unknown, distant land. God is in us. But being human, it can be difficult for us to grasp the essence of God within us. So, when we experience the incredible, like the beauty of nature, as well as the terrible, like war, and the whole gamut of incomprehensible things in between, we may react by externalizing them – projecting them onto God, a figure outside of ourselves. From a distance, we are able to admire, blame, take apart, analyze and have a relationship with this figure. However, when we do this, we may, over time, forget our true nature; we may forget that God is within us. This is where I have found Scripture fits in.

Scripture has breathed new life in me

My regular encounter with the Word nourishes me spiritually because it closes the gap I sometimes put between God and myself. It helps me see myself as I truly am. And if I’m lucky, so very rarely, I am treated to moments of anxiety, yearning, or rapture and come away from that experience knowing what it means to see God face-to-face and live to tell the world about it.

A friend I can frolic with, daydream with, laugh with, cry with

I am not saying that all the fragmented bits of my spirituality have suddenly come together through my study of Torah, Prophets, and the Psalms. What I am saying is that studying Scripture has breathed new life in me. It has given me a language, a whole body of literature with which I can articulate concepts, emotions, questions, the stirrings of my heart. It has introduced me to a friend I can frolic with, daydream with, laugh with, cry with. It has reintroduced me to my faith, in quite a tangible form, in a more interesting way – one that I can grapple with, one that can take my breath away – that it has come alive more than ever.