Verbum Domini: Theologian Pope writes Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God
Pope Benedict XVI presents the depth of Catholic teaching on the Word of God in an accessible language which can be read and understood by all to whom it is addressed. It is masterful!
Verbum Domini is Masterful, Mystical, and Missionary. What is clear from beginning to end is that the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is a theologian of the highest order. He must have delighted his many students as "Professor Ratzinger". This exhortation gives us all a chance to join them and be taught by this extraordinary Pope. With the skills of an excellent teacher, Pope Benedict XVI takes the reader through one of the finest presentations of the Catholic teaching on the Sacred Scripture I have read.
Pope Benedict XVI carrying the Book of the Gospels
CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - "Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 30 September, the Memorial of St. Jerome, in the year 2010, the sixth of my Pontificate". With these words, Pope Benedict XVI ends his new Apostolic Exhortation "Verbum Domini" (the Word of the Lord). It is addressed to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful and considers "the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church". It was released on Thursday, November 11, 2010.
St. Jerome is the Patron of Scripture scholars. His translation of the Bible into Latin is still one of the greatest resources we have for studying sacred scripture. However, it was the Saint's intimate love for the Living Word, Jesus Christ, which characterized and informed his entire life and ministry. Among the many quotes we often hear from him is that "ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ". Clearly, Pope Benedict XVI agrees.
I spent several hours prayerfully receiving this wonderful exhortation and barely scratched the surface really reading it the way it deserves. I know that I will return to it over and over again. It is not yet released in book form. However, it will be very soon. It has been released by the Vatican and can be read in its entirety here. I printed it out, punched holes in each page, placed it in a three ring notebook and prayed my way through it. I intend to keep it next to my "prayer chair" where I pray the Office and spend time with the Lord every morning. I encourage my readers to do the same. It is a Feast!
Verbum Domini is Masterful, Mystical, and Missionary. I use each of these words to describe this apostolic exhortation not simply for the alliteration but because they accurately reflect the profundity of this instruction. What is clear from beginning to end is that the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is a theologian of the highest order. He must have delighted his many students as "Professor Ratzinger". This exhortation gives us all a chance to join them and be taught by this extraordinary Pope. With the skills of an excellent teacher, Pope Benedict XVI takes the reader through one of the finest presentations of the Catholic teaching on the Sacred Scripture I have ever read.
I write as someone who, through falling in love with the Word of God as a young man, found my way back into the heart of the Church. I have spent years pursuing a formal education in theology and am currently writing my PhD dissertation in Moral Theology. This apostolic exhortation is the finest summary of the Catholic understanding of the Sacred Scripture I have read. It will certainly become a manual for anyone studying theology. It is masterfully written and presented with a depth which only a skilled theologian and seasoned teacher could achieve. It is presented in a language which only a true pastor could achieve; someone who wants, above all else, for the faithful to fall in love with Jesus Christ and grow in their faith. Pope Benedict XVI presents the depth of Catholic teaching on the Word of God in an accessible language which can be read and understood by all to whom it is addressed. It is masterful!
It is also mystical; reflecting the depth of the interior life and relationship with the Lord which Pope Benedict XVI obviously has. Oh, I know he is the Vicar of Christ and it should come as no surprise that he has such a wonderful capacity to communicate the sacred truth of Divine Revelation. However, reading this beautiful exhortation one discovers that this is a man in love with the Living Word, Jesus Christ - and it is clear in how he writes.
He writes in the introduction, "being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a definitive direction." The Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini is his summary of - and response to - the 12th ordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The Bishops met during October of 2008 to consider the theme "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church." He tells the reader his goal and entrusts his inspired work to the patronage of the Beloved Disciple John in these words:
"With this Apostolic Exhortation I would like the work of the Synod to have a real effect on the life of the Church: on our personal relationship with the sacred Scriptures, on their interpretation in the liturgy and catechesis, and in scientific research, so that the Bible may not be simply a word from the past, but a living and timely word. To accomplish this, I would like to present and develop the labors of the Synod by making constant reference to the Prologue of John's Gospel (Jn 1:1-18), which ...
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