Use More Soap

Person Washing Hands with Soap in WashbasinI am horrible at paying attention in Mass. Even on the rare occasions when I don’t have one or more children trying to crawl up my skirt, test the acoustics with high pitched shrieks, or shred the missalette, I have a tendency to get a little bit distracted.

The Catholic Mass is so beautifully steeped in scripture. The church has connected readings from Old and New Testaments and Psalms for each Sunday on a three year cycle (and weekdays on a two year cycle). They fit the liturgical seasons and lead us through the life of Christ and relate the history of God’s people to the whole salvation story.

It is such a feast for the soul, set right before me, and I miss a lot of it.

Studying the Sunday readings before Mass helps me to retain focus through thrashing toddlers and my own mental gymnastics.

One of the ways I have found to do that is to follow the SOAP technique. It also roughly follows a pattern for Lectio Divina, which is also a beautiful way to make the scriptures a part of our prayer and thoughts.

SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. Here is how it works:

Read the readings for the upcoming Sunday and follow these steps for each:

Scripture – Write the verse or verses that stuck out to you and why.

Observation – Here is where the STUDY part of the Bible study comes in.  This can be as simple or as complicated as you choose (or have time) to make it.  It might be one sentence, it might be pages. Some suggestions:

  • Write down a list of what happens in the passage.
  • Look at the notes in your bible and the introduction to the book, what can you learn about the author, the time, and the context of the passage?
  • Make a list of adjectives, traits of God, or other things listed.
  • Can you find any other similar phrasings or stories in the bible?
  • Make a list of Truths, Commands, and Promises.
  • Make up your own way to study this passage.

Application – How can you apply this to your life today?  How does this affirm something you are already doing?  What changes does this call for you to make?

Prayer – Write a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask Him to help you apply this truth to your life.  Choose one verse or several. You may want to do one for each of the readings, you may just want to do one, but try to carry your study into your prayers with you.

Example:  Titus 3:2 They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone.
Made into a prayer: Help me to avoid gossip, to pursue peace, and to be considerate and gracious to all, even those I don’t like.

Because my mornings are very time constrained, I made a little worksheet to keep me on track, here it is for your use too, both half and full sheets:
SOAP Full Page
SOAP Half Page

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