Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/13/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

God has called us Catholics to follow him closely. In that holy Writing you will find the Life of Jesus, but you should also find your own life there- St Josemaria Escriva

Last month, at an Angelus prayer, Pope Francis asked the crowd how many of them read the Bible every day. The response was discouraging. He told them, \"It is good to have a little Bible that you carry with you in your pocket or in your bag. Always carry a Bible with you, even on the bus!\" This past Sunday, as the faithful gathered in St. Peters square for the Angelus, volunteers handed out complimentary copies of the New Testament.  They were a gift from Francis. The action spoke volumes about his sincerity in urging the faithful to encounter the Living Word Jesus by reading and meditating upon the written Word of God which reveasl Him.

Pope Francis loves the Word of God and calls us to do the same

Pope Francis loves the Word of God and calls us to do the same

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/13/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Bible, New Testament, Sacred Scripture, Pope Francis, Angelus, Dei Verbum, meditation, contemplation, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Last month, at an Angelus prayer, Pope Francis asked the crowd how many of them read the Bible every day. The response was discouraging. He told them, "It is good to have a little Bible that you carry with you in your pocket or in your bag. Always carry a Bible with you, even on the bus!"

This past Sunday, as the faithful gathered in St. Peters square for the Angelus, volunteers handed out complimentary copies of the New Testament.  They were a gift from Francis. The action spoke volumes about his sincerity in urging the faithful to encounter the Living Word Jesus by reading and meditating upon the written Word of God which reveasl Him.

This Pope is an Evangelical Catholic, a man of the Word. He is inviting all of us to become men and women of the Word; to encounter Jesus in the Word. In a beautiful paragraph from its document on the Word of God, the Fathers of the last great ecumenical council, Vatican II, wrote:

Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life. (On the Word of God, Second Vatican Council, Paragraph 21)

The constant, daily reading of the Bible and, in a particular way, the Gospels, is meant to be a part of the lived faith of every Christian. The emphasis on reading, loving and living the Gospels is at the heart of the New Evangelization of the Catholic Church.

One of my favorite contemporary saints, Josemaria Esciva, gave this helpful direction about reading the Gospel accounts:
 
When you open the Holy Gospel, think that what is written there-the words and deeds of Christ-is something that you should not only know, but live. Everything, every point that is told there, has been gathered, detail-by-detail, for you to make it come alive in the individual circumstances of your life.

God has called us Catholics to follow him closely. In that holy Writing you will find the Life of Jesus, but you should also find your own life there. You too, like the Apostle, will learn to ask, full of love, 'Lord, what would you have me do?' And in your soul you will hear the conclusive answer, 'The Will of God!' Take up the Gospel every day, then, and read it and live it as a definite rule. This is what the saints have done.'
(The Forge, §754). 

This meant to be the lived, ordinary experience of every Catholic Christian and not simply the pattern found in the lives of those canonized as Saints. The Bible lies at the very heart of the Churches worship, faith and life because it reveals the face of God.

The words of the Bible put a praying reader in relationship with Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, through whom we are brought into communion with the Trinitarian God. Thus all the baptized faithful are called into an ever deepening encounter with God through the Sacred Scriptures.

The Bible is the "Book of the Church." Christianity is never about simply "me and Jesus". If anything, it is about me in Jesus. We live our lives now as a part of His Body, the Church. Catholics and Orthodox rightly emphasize that to belong to Jesus is to belong to His Church.

When God chose to save us, He did not throw a book out of heaven; He came among us as the Word become Flesh. Through the Incarnation, life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ- and through the working of the Holy Spirit - a new creation has begun.

The Church is not an organizational afterthought that we all put together so that we have a place to study the Bible together and worship. It is the very Body of Christ, the seed of the kingdom that is coming, the plan of God revealed, a new family into which we are reborn through the womb that is the Baptismal font.

The Lords' presence continues in His Body, the Church, which is a communion of all the faithful with the Lord. He gave the sacred text, the Bible, to those who are His own in this world by giving it to the Church, the home of those who are baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus and become sons (and daughters) in the Son.

God has entrusted His Word to this Church, this new people who were born from the water and blood that flowed from the wounded side of Jesus Christ. The Bible, the great treasury of His written word, is a gift to this Church.

At first it was received by the early Church in the form of the Old Testament books, the Gospels and the letters of the apostles that were "circulated" (that is what the word "encyclical" means) among the early Christian communities.

Later, what we have now call the "Bible" was compiled in the "Canon" (the word means "measuring stick"), by the early Church in Council, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This complete text, discerned as to its final content within the Church, is now given to and for the Church.

It is meant to govern her life and worship. It is the guide for her continuing mission to carry forward the redemptive work of Jesus on earth as His Body, until He comes again. It is also, for every Christian, as a son or daughter of that Church, an invitation into an ongoing and ever deepening encounter with God.

For the individual Christian, the Bible is not a formula to be used to obtain some perceived individual "success" in life, but rather a love letter, an invitation from a living God into a relationship with Him, and, in Him with others.
 
It is not some-thing to be used by us, but rather it reveals "Someone", who is to be loved, adored and worshipped. In the words of St. Paul to his disciple Timothy, Scripture is inspired, which in the Greek literally means "God-breathed". It is filled with the very breath, the life of God.

This kind of relational approach to the Sacred Scripture is part of the way of encounter which characterizes the spirituality of Pope Francis. .

In his letter to Timothy who led the struggling Church of Ephesus, the Apostle Paul reminded him that ". from infancy you have known (the) sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:15-16).

Timothy had a relationship with the Scriptures because He had an intimate loving relationship with the Lord whom they reveal. In short, He had real living faith! This allowed the Lord to continue his work within and through him.

If we want to understand the Bible and bear its fruit in our lives, we must grow in the same kind of faith that Timothy had. This faith will grow in us as we study the words of Scripture. However, we must also approach the study of the Scriptures in and with faith. The two are inseparable.

I believe that this simple but essential insight is part of why Pope Francis gave away those New Testaments last Sunday. He is inviting all of us to fall in love with the Lord. One of the ways we do this is to encounter Him in the Word of God.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Europe

Archaeologists find a very different type of 'treasure' - a 2,000-year-old toilet seat Watch

Image of Discovered at Vindolanda fort on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Accustomed to finding priceless coins, artwork and historical artifacts, archaeologists in Great Britain have found an altogether different type of treasure - one that was desperately needed in ancient times - a wooden toilet seat, believed to be 2,000 years ... continue reading


Over 1,400 girls raped and abused by Muslims in English town Watch

Image of For more than 12 years a large community of Pakistanis living in England have enjoyed sexually abusing girls while officials turned a blind eye a new report reveals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over a 12 year period, hundreds of children were systematically raped, beaten and sex trafficked in a northern English town, and the government commissioned report on the incident reveals that it is still going on today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Guilty? Corruption case moves forward against the head of International Monetary Fund Watch

Image of Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, who is facing charges currently in France.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christine Legarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and one of the most powerful women in the world, has been charged with "negligence" over a multi-million-euro graft case relating to her time as a French finance minister. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Scandalous details come to light over defrocked nuncio's abuse of young boys Watch

Image of Shoeshine boys int he Dominican Republic say that Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual acts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Loathsome details have come to light over defrocked Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican's ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Shoeshine boys say that Wesolowski would cruise the oceanfront promenade and offer them large sums of money for sexual ... continue reading


Archbishop appeals his defrocking for sexual abuse allegedly committed in Dominican Republic Watch

Image of If found guilty in a criminal trial, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski could risk extradition to the Dominican Republic, which has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, from Poland, is accused of child sex abuse while he served in the Dominican Republic. He has since appealed against a Roman Catholic tribunal's decision to defrock him, according to the Vatican. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


SHOCKING: Are there more British Muslims fighting for the Islamic State than for British military? Watch

Image of Many young men facing poor job prospects in the U.K. find the IS narrative of defending Islam hard to resist.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a shocking figure that has many questioning immigration laws. Britain's Ministry of Defense has confirmed that there are approximately 600 British Muslim service members in its armed forces of almost 200,000 people. In a momentous slap to the West - and ... continue reading


British Archbishop demands Muslim leaders enforce discipline on youth or face the consequences Watch

Image of George Carey, a former Archbishop recently spoke on the dangers of the Islamic State, as well as the British Muslims who go overseas to fight for it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A former Archbishop of Canterbury has called for Britons that are fighting for the Islamic State to be banished from Britain. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lord George Carey of Clifton said that Muslims must  discipline their young people, or see them ... continue reading


Pontifical Council Statement on the Violence in Iraq Watch

Image of Let us therefore unite our voices with that of Pope Francis:

By Vatican Radio

No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity. This constitutes an extremely serious offense to humanity and to God who is the Creator, as Pope Francis has often reminded us. VATICAN CITY (Vatican Radio) - The Pontifical Council for Interreligious ... continue reading


British rapper makes 14-year-old girl post sex video online Watch

Image of The girl, who can't be named for legal reasons, accepted a friend request from rapper Logik, whose real name is Kyle Burns.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was a sick incident that highlights what's going on around the eyes and ears of semi-attentive parents. A British rapper who goes under the stage name of "Logik" asked a 14-year-old girl to pose an indecent 60-second video of herself to which he promised ... continue reading


A new tomb may be the burial place of Alexander the Great Watch

Image of This road leads up to a newly discovered tomb which could hold the remains of one of Alexander the Great's generals.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologists in Greece have discovered an immense tomb that they believe may be connected with Alexander the Great, whose conquests stretched from Greece to India. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This tomb, which dates to around 300 BC, may have held the body ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:10-16
10 to us, though, God has given revelation through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 13-14
8 Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger, full ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:31-37
31 He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Skänninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter