A Catholic reads the Bible, Week 31: From Proverbs to prophets

Reading the the Book of Isaiah leads Laura Bernardini to ponder our modern-day prophets.

This is Week 31 of a yearlong series: A Catholic Reads the Bible. Read Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3. Laura Bernardini is director of coverage in CNN's Washington Bureau. The views expressed in this column belong to Bernardini.

(CNN)The beautiful poems of the Book of Psalms and common sense of the books of Proverbs and Sirach have given way to the prophets.

I am in for a long haul before the New Testament.
Earlier in the Bible, in the books of Kings in particular, Hebrew history was told through the vantage point of the kings. Now I'm getting the prophets' perspective on how to respect, honor and pray with the Lord.
There are major and minor prophets -- depending on how long their chapter is. Who knew repetitiveness would be so rewarded?
    My least favorite king, Uzziah, makes a reappearance here with in the Book of Isaiah. But, here's the point I take away -- listen to the prophets and not the king.
    As we already know, the kings weren't always good. And like Uzziah, the prophets occasionally needed to intercede.
    "Woe to those who are wise in their own sight, and prudent in their own esteem" (Isaiah 6:21) is such a nicer way of saying: stop being so full of yourself!
    And while I haven't had the opportunity to use this kind of language yet, this Bible-reading project is permeating my whole life.
    For instance, I was just in Des Moines, Iowa, for the presidential caucuses. I have lost track of the number of times that I have been to Iowa to cover politics.
    I stay in the same hotel in downtown Des Moines each trip. This year, I noticed for the first time that there is a Catholic church right across the street. How did I miss it for all those years? I never looked up.
    I not only notice, I also now practice my religion more now. There I was for Mass on Sunday at St. Ambrose Cathedral, right across from my hotel.
    This project has also influenced my life in smaller ways.
    On the road, we aren't the healthiest -- eating out at restaurants and late at night after work is done. This little passage from Sirach made me laugh because it's still true:
    "Moderate eating ensures sound slumber and a clear mind next day on rising." (Sirach 31:20)
    (I could have been better about obeying that passage that last week.)
    And as I started Isaiah (it's a long book), it got me thinking: who are the prophets of modern times? The point of prophets was to direct the faithful away from their wicked ways. Who speaks to us now?
    My first thought was Pope Francis. He has weighed in on all the current affairs topics of the days while also keeping the faithful in line. But, that's an easy one.
    I am going to keep pondering our modern-day prophets as I read the next few books of the Bible.