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 confused and hopeless. This Bible study, that now has over 1,500 participants, aims to help that.
The self-guided series can be accessed by signing up at www.usml.edu/chaos and will be distributed as a series of four weekly email messages. Once they have subscribed online, participants will immediately receive the first session via email and each subsequent session will be sent for the next three weeks on the day they originally signed up.
"Obviously, there's a lot going on in the world these days," said Father Kartje in an interview with Catholic News Service. "But I teach Scripture, that's just a love of mine; And I often find that there's wisdom in Scripture in a very kind of pragmatic or practical sense that isn't always appreciated."
The goal was to offer a genuine Bible study that examines Scripture, while also 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 kinds of emotions and feelings are not unique to our times," said Father Kartje, a priest of the Chicago Archdiocese.
"So by looking at a series of characters and narratives from the Old and New Testaments, my hope was (that this) might help people actually see their Bible and see Scripture as a true resource for finding (and) interacting with God in the midst of not only the chaotic situations of this spring and summer, but wherever those kinds of stresses might surface in their life," said Father Kartje.
"Obviously there are beautiful prayers, powerful psalms and so forth (that) in the midst of chaotic times somebody might use as a prayer resource," the priest added, "but there's just also all sorts of instances of people dealing with the kinds of things people are dealing with today (in the Bible)."
The study includes audio meditations recorded by Father Kartje with accompanying Bible passages, spiritual exercises designed to inspire reflection and a virtual Q-and-A for participants Aug. 8.
"My hope, really, my desire is that it (Scripture) would be a resource for people to use in the face of any stress they're finding now, but that it also might help open the door to the beauty of Scripture."