In creating the intricacies of our humanity, God also fashioned us to be able to know Him through our five senses. Sight, taste, smell, sound, touch. Particularly thanks to the Incarnation, we can see Him, hear Him, and even touch Him.
How to Connect Our Senses to Scripture
One of the most profound ways we can encounter God in His Word in Sacred Scripture is through our five senses. But how?
Most obviously, sight gives us the ability to read, thus also granting us the opportunity to read the words of the Bible. We can enter a church and see the beauty directing us to the divine.
Sight also plays a key role in sacred art. Sacred art depicts moments in biblical history, such as the Crucifixion or the birth of Our Lord. Artists such as Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Fra Angelico offer us the stories and morals from Bible in picture form. We can use this gift to marvel at the world God created.
You can also subscribe to Magnificat, which “is a monthly publication designed for daily use, to encourage both liturgical and personal prayer. It can be used to follow daily Mass and can also be read at home or wherever you find yourself for personal or family prayer.”
Listening to the Word of God is always a good place to start when it comes to scripture. Every Sunday you listen to selected readings from the Bible and hymns based off scripture. You can play these hymns in your house. Listen to Gregorian Chant. Another great option is to listen to the daily readings, or even go to daily mass. People such as Bishop Robert Barron and Father Mike Schmidt have podcasts in which they read and interpret the Word of the Lord. For those on the go with little available time to sit down and read, Catholic podcasts are a great option.
Using Ignatian style-prayer, we can even engage our sense of smell with the accounts in Sacred Scripture. While reading a passage from Scripture—for example, the Wedding at Cana—imagine yourself at the wedding feast! What can you smell? Imagine all the different dishes, the exotic smell of spices, and the freshly-poured wine.
Additionally, when you are in church on Sunday, take note if there is any incense being used by the priests and alter boys! Let this remind you of the incense used in Old Testament worship of God fulfilled in Jesus.
Looking for more ways to incorporate Scripture in your child's life? Meet The Daily Feast. This *free* 8-page guide will introduce you to a doable morning routine of prayer and catechesis with your kids.
We receive the Living Word in the Eucharist every Sunday. This is the summit of our "tasting and seeing"!
There are also other creative ways you can "taste" Scripture. Try cooking traditional Jewish food, such as roast lamb, freshly baked wheat bread (or barley if you were poor), and fruits such as dates or figs. Peoples in the ancient world also ate many different types of vegetables. Olives and legumes were typically served with bread, along with olive oil. Trying food that Jesus would have eaten on a daily basis is a fun way to expand your palette and a great way to further immerse yourself into Scripture!
Once again, we can use Ignatian prayer to truly enter into a moment in Scripture. For example, imagine yourself witnessing the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The Cross is wooden and heavy. You reach forward and rub your hand along the rough plank. You bring your hand away, wincing as you notice the splinters. Next, you find yourself outside of the Tomb. The rock is round, immense, and cold. Its smoothness is a stark contrast to the rough wooden Cross. On Easter Sunday, you feel the discarded burial linens.
Ever Ancient, Ever New
Sight, taste, smell, touch, sound. Five gifts from God so that we might enjoy the world He put before us. Connecting all your senses to Scripture might take some serious creativity, but it is a fun and immersive way to dive deeper into the Bible!
How do YOU engage the five senses in Scripture? Do you have your own tried-and-true methods? Share in the comments below!