Every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. I spend an hour at Adoration of the Holy Eucharist in the chapel at my church. Blessed Sacrament is the only church in the area to have Perpetual Adoration.
People do all kinds of things at Adoration: contemplation of the Sacrament of the Altar, the Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Stations of the Cross. Bookish man that I am, most of my hour is devoted to study; of theology, scripture and church history, in the way that a Jew goes to his synagogue to study the Torah.
Having worked my way through the entire Catechism, a number of works by Pope Benedict, and several dense works of theology by Jean Daniélou, S.J., I found myself led to tackle what are known as the books of the Former Prophets, Joshua through Kings, also called the Deuteronomistic History. They have always been mysterious and baffling to me. Religious skeptics love to quote them, with their deeds of blood and wrathful judgments, as evidence for the prosecution of God in the dock.
I observed a couple of weeks ago that my reference books for Bible study were pretty old. I bought many of them in the '80's when I was a new convert and an Episcopalian. My Jerome Bible Commentary dates from 1968, and I have known for years that there is a newer edition (1990). My Oxford Bible Atlas, (3rd edition, 1984), was superseded by a 4th edition in 2007. Our RSV Catholic Edition Bible, which we've owned since the early '90's, was copyrighted 1966, and a 2nd Catholic Edition was released in 2006, with maps of the Holy Land, which I've missed in the old edition.
So I splurged. In these days of online book-selling, you don't usually have to pay full price for a new book once it has been out for a while. I ordered the Ignatius RSV Study Bible, 2nd Catholic Edition, the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and the Oxford Bible Atlas, 4th Edition. I also ordered a couple of study guides, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction by Lawrence Boadt, C.S.P., and You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible by Peter Kreeft.