6 Months of ‘The Bible in a Year’
Father Mike Schmitz relates, ‘Let the word of God wash over you and penetrate your heart.’
The Register recently caught up with Father Mike Schmitz about his popular podcast focused on daily Bible reading. How has it changed lives and hearts over the past six months?
The Bible in a Year made a big splash when it arrived on the podcast scene in January. How is it doing now?
So well: God is doing incredible things with this podcast! It’s still high in the podcasting charts — we just passed 85 million downloads — and there are hundreds of thousands of people tuning in each day. So many people are doing this Bible in a Year journey together. It’s incredibly moving!
How has spending so much time in the word of God changed you over the past six months?
My life had always been marked by reading the Bible on a daily basis, in one way or another. Whether through following the Lectionary or by researching for teaching and preaching opportunities, I’ve read the Bible every day for many years. But this kind of reading has been incredible. While I am so grateful for the Lectionary, there are times when we miss crucial details to the stories of the Scriptures. Even more, by entering into the word of God in a kind of “piecemeal” way, it can become more difficult to capture “The Story” … the overarching story of what God has done and is doing with his people. I’ve been moved more and more to see the “Big-Picture Story” by being on this journey.
What can you tell us about the community that has sprung up around this podcast? Any listener testimonies that stand out?
The team has been overwhelmed with testimonials about how God is changing lives through this podcast! We’ve heard from people reaching sobriety, from people coming back to the sacraments for the first time in years, from people seeking out Christianity or Catholicism for the first time, and from families where marriages and relationships are being renewed. We’re hearing incredible stories of grace from people in all walks of life, from the homebound to those living in other countries to those who aren’t even Christian. God is moving in the hearts of so many!
Have there been any particular stories so far that have particularly resonated with listeners?
A few weeks ago, we read about the prophets Elijah and Elisha each raising a child from the dead. Some listeners then posted in our Facebook group about the loss of their own children and how their faith carried them through that crucible of suffering. It was beautiful to see people sharing so deeply, and to see others honoring their stories, and everyone holding each other in prayer, as we ask them to do each day on the podcast.
The Old Testament, while a beautiful and necessary part of Scripture, can be confusing and repetitive at times. What advice do you have for people who may get bogged down?
Listen to the podcast! Seriously, this podcast was designed so that you can simply relax and let the word of God wash over you and penetrate your heart. Then the short prayer and explanation will help you make sense of the main people, places and events you’re discovering. With the podcast, it’s as simple as pressing “play.”
What are your hopes for the podcast for the rest of the year?
I have been blown away by the number of Catholics who have said that their faith has been transformed by this year. So many people have reached out to me to let me know that they have begun to actually walk with the Lord in an intentional and trusting way (you know, like a disciple). My hope and prayer is that all of us have the grace and the strength to continue this journey all the way through the end and beyond.