Today we are inundated by texts. You cannot read everything. Thousands of newspapers, magazines, e-mail, messages, sms, tweets. Some people point out that now more things are being written than read. Everyone wants to communicate and share. Therefore, there are so many media. This ease of writing deprives us of sensitivity towards the others, patience, and attention needed to really understand each other. Others are not only a text, a message. They require a special approach. A text can help us understand our neighbors. This should be its role. Therefore, it must be fair, wise, and well-measured. Everything we write requires responsibility.
Reading seems to be even more challenging. We have to give time to other people, strive to understand them. It takes motivation, especially at times like the present, when time has become precious and everyone struggles to be noticed. Reading, however, requires commitment. To do it the right way, you need to think and strain your imagination, memory, and sometimes creativity. Things we do not need when we look at pictures, which end up taking the place of demanding reading. Visual sequences are slowly displacing books. They are more accessible and allow us to save our energy.
Can do without this activity, which is fundamental for human beings? You cannot choose well without thinking about it. You cannot live well without choosing the right. In a democracy, taking important decisions depends on the formation of thought. But not only. Since its beginnings in Christianity, reading the Bible has been considered an essential activity. Obviously, this is due to the Jewish tradition, but it has grown and developed so much the importance of reading.
The Bible was read not only during the liturgy. Monks from Egypt, Palestine, and Syria were building their own spiritual life based on reading the Bible. Through the verses of the sacred texts, they formed their disciples and shared their experiences. In the Holy Book, they found comfort and hope.
During the Middle Ages, the monastic culture of reading has contributed to the birth of modern European society. Jean Leclercq, a French monk who studied medieval spirituality, titled his book Love of the Arts and Desire of God. An American scholar, Alan Jacobs has written a book titled A Theology of Reading. The Hermeneutics of Love. There are similar books in various languages.
Reading helps us live fully our human condition. It allows us not only to think, but also to enter into the very depths of our hearts. The classic pattern of a spiritual reading called lectio divina included the following steps: reading-meditation-prayer-contemplation-action. In this perspective, reading is a way of integrating our lives, which allows us to move from study and reflection to actual activities. So let us try to do so! Summer holidays seem very favorable not only to free ourselves from the invasion of visual culture but probably also to start a spiritual path.