Father John Kartje, rector of Mundelein Seminary at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Illinois, is hosting an online Bible study this summer called “Living on the Edge of Chaos: Finding Hope in the Face of Fear.” .
The current events that have devastated the world have left many people confused and hopeless. This Bible study, which now has more than 1,500 participants, aims to help that.
The self-guided series is accessible by registering at www.usml.edu/chaos and will be distributed as a series of four weekly email messages. Once they register online, participants will immediately receive the first session by email and each subsequent session will be sent for the following three weeks on the day of their initial registration.
“Obviously there’s a lot going on in the world these days,” Fr. Kartje said in an interview with Catholic News Service. “But I teach scripture, it’s just out of love for me; and I often find there’s wisdom in scripture in a very pragmatic or practical sense that isn’t always appreciated.”
The goal was to offer a real Bible study that examines the scriptures, while analyzing how these passages reflect our current experiences and become a tool for coping.
“The stress of uncertainty, you know, the stress of illness, fear, shame and discouragement, all those sorts of emotions and feelings are not unique to our times,” Fr. Kartje said, priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“So looking at a series of characters and stories from the Old and New Testaments, my hope was (that this) might help people really see their Bible and see Scripture as a real resource for finding ( and) interacting with God amid not only the chaotic situations of this spring and summer, but wherever that kind of stress might arise in their lives,” Fr. Kartje said.
“Obviously there are beautiful prayers, powerful psalms and so on (that) in the midst of chaotic times someone could use as a prayer resource,” the priest added, “but there are also all kinds of examples of people facing the kinds of things people face today (in the Bible).”
The study includes audio-recorded meditations by Father Kartje accompanied by Bible passages, spiritual exercises designed to inspire reflection, and a virtual Q&A for participants on August 8.
“My hope, really, my desire is that it (scripture) would be a resource that people could use in the face of whatever stress they find now, but that it could also help open the door to the beauty of writing.”