Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

8/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Bible is an invitation into an encounter with the living God for every Christian

The Bible is not some-thing, but reveals Some-One. In the words of St. Paul to Timothy, all Scripture is inspired by God. (2 Tim. 3:16) The Greek means God-breathed. They reveal Jesus Christ and our encounter with Him is the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

St. Augustine writing

St. Augustine writing

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Bible, scripture, lectio divina, prayer, fathers, early fathers, patristic, St Augustine, Deacon Keith Fournier


ORLANDO, FL (Catholic online) - On this Feast of St. Augustine, I am happy to present an excerpt from his great writings. It is found in the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Catholic Church, on the Feast of St John the Evangelist. The Bishop Augustine was reflecting on the first letter which the beloved disciple John wrote to the early Christians. In characteristic Patristic style (the style of the early church fathers), the good Bishop weaves the biblical text in between his inspired exposition. This manner of reflecting on the biblical text - responding to it - returning to it - and reflecting again, reveals an intimate communion with the Living Word, Jesus Christ. It is He who is revealed in the written word. He comes and reveals Himself to all who live their lives in communion with Him.

Clearly Augustine did - and we can do so as well. The key which unlocks the door to this way of life is prayer. A Christian who does not pray is like a human person who does not breathe. Jesus Christ is alive. He is Risen. He is available to you and me as He was to Augustine. This style of approaching the Bible was perpetuated in the Western Church through the practice of Lectio Divina, praying the Scriptures.The Bible is an invitation into an encounter with the living God for every Christian. Its words are not a formula to obtain "success" in life, but an invitation into a communion of Love with the Living Word which is meant to bear the fruit of a new way of living in the Lord. The Bible is not some-thing, but reveals Some-One. In the words of St. Paul to Timothy, all Scripture is inspired by God. (2 Tim. 3:16) The Greek means God-breathed. They reveal Jesus Christ and our encounter with Him is the heart of what it means to be a Christian. As a young man, I searched for meaning and purpose in my life beyond the emptiness and materialism of the age. My search eventually they led to an encounter with the One who is the "Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn. 14:6) and home to the Catholic Christian faith. One of the first fruits of this encounter was an unquenchable attraction to the Bible. I wanted to understand its meaning for my life. I spent nearly two years in a Benedictine Monastery where I began reading the Fathers of the Church and practicing what is called "Lectio Divina". It has carried me for years as I have continued the journey of following the Risen Jesus in His Church. The early Christians received the scriptures as a gift. They knew that the sacred words were to lead to a deeper communion of love with their source, the Living Word of God. Early theologians were mystics. My favorite definition of a theologian is from the Monk Evagrius of Pontus, someone who "rests his head on the chest of Christ." The image calls to mind the beloved disciple, John, depicted as doing just that in early Christian art. It also speaks of the indispensable prerequisite for any fruitful study of the Bible, a relationship with the Lord in the intimacy of prayer. Prayer must be practiced if it is to be perfected. Early Christians viewed the reading of Scripture as a way of encountering the Living Word, who gives Himself as bread to those who feed on this written Word. This practice is kept alive in the Christian monastic tradition, particularly among Benedictines in the West. It is embedded in the Eastern Christian tradition and especially evident in the writings of the early Church fathers. They wrote in a sort of stream of scriptural consciousness, moving from inspired thoughts to actual biblical quotes and back; most often without any reference to the specific "chapter and verse". The text was living within them. To use a phrase from my childhood they "knew it by heart." This way of encountering the Lord in His Word can be cultivated in our lives. It involves meeting the Lord in His word and being changed, converted, in that encounter. It can inform a rhythmic way of life steeped in the practice of the presence of God throughout the day. Participation in the rich and beautiful pattern of the Liturgical life of the Church, filled as it is with the Biblical texts that are arranged for the faithful every day, helps to develop this rhythm. This kind of prayer brings the word to life and changes the one engaged in it into the One whom they experience in the encounter.  *****
St. Augustine: The Word Became Flesh and Revealed Life Itself We announce what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our own eyes, what we have touched with our own hands. Who could touch the Word with his hands unless the Word was made flesh and lived among us?
 
Now this Word, whose flesh was so real that he could be touched by human hands, began to be flesh in the Virgin Mary's womb; but he did not begin to exist at that moment. We know this from what John says: What existed from the beginning. Notice how John's letter bears witness to his Gospel, which you just heard a moment ago: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.
 
Someone might interpret the phrase the Word of life to mean a word about Christ, rather than Christ's body itself which was touched by human hands. But consider what comes next: and life itself was revealed. Christ therefore is himself the Word of life.
 
And how was this life revealed? It existed from the beginning, but was not revealed to men, only to angels, who looked upon it and feasted upon it as their own spiritual bread. But what does Scripture say? Mankind ate the bread of angels.
 
Life itself was therefore revealed in the flesh. In this way what was visible to the heart alone could become visible also to the eye, and so heal men's hearts. For the Word is visible to the heart alone, while flesh is visible to bodily eyes as well. We already possessed the means to see the flesh, but we had no means of seeing the Word. The Word was made flesh so that we could see it, to heal the part of us by which we could see the Word.
 
John continues: And we are witnesses and we proclaim to you that eternal life which was with the Father and has been revealed among us - one might say more simply "revealed to us."
 
We proclaim to you what we have heard and seen. Make sure that you grasp the meaning of these words. The disciples saw our Lord in the flesh, face to face; they heard the words he spoke, and in turn they proclaimed the message to us. So we also have heard, although we have not seen.
 
Are we then less favored than those who both saw and heard? If that were so, why should John add: so that you too may have fellowship with us? They saw, and we have not seen; yet we have fellowship with them, because we and they share the same faith.
 
And our fellowship is with God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. And we write this to you to make your joy complete - complete in that fellowship, in that love and in that unity.-----

Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis refers to Martin Luther to spread important message for the Church Watch

Image of Pope Francis speaks unity.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Speaking to a delegation of pilgrims led by Lutheran Archbishop Kari Makinen of Turku, Pope Francis shared a special message, in which he quoted Martin Luther. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic Herald, Pope Francis spoke of the his October ... continue reading


Pope Francis says REAL Christians are at constant war with the devil Watch

Image of If you are a Christian, you are constantly battling the devil.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The closer we are to Christ, the more the devil attacks. Why? Because the enemy wants us to fall from grace - just like he did. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During his early morning Mass in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis described the ... continue reading


The truth behind sex change surgery - The tragic case of Bruce-Brenda Reimers Watch

Image of The truth behind gender reassignment surgery (Medscape).

By Mary Rezac (CNA/EWTN News)

You've probably heard of Bruce Jenner. Phoenix, AZ (CNA/EWTN News) - Now referred to as Caitlyn Jenner, the high-profile Olympic athlete with a famously dramatic family had a very high-profile transition from male to female - including mutilple surgical alterations, a ... continue reading


Mexican exorcist claims the devil fears him - 'He can't enter us if we do not open doors' Watch

Image of The devil fears the presence of the Lord.

By (CNA)

Fr. Francisco Lopez Sedano is an 80-year-old Mexican exorcist. In the past 40 years of service, he has conducted at least 6,000 exorcisms.And, he says, the devil is afraid of him. Mexico City, Mexico (CNA) - Fr. Lopez told the newspaper Hoy Los Angeles (Los Angeles ... continue reading


Pope Francis to bless Philippines President after receiving letter of peace Watch

Image of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offers peace to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has made several negative comments about Pope Francis and the Catholic Church - So why is he suddenly writing the pontiff a letter of reconciliation? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Duterte's violent war on drugs has been a ... continue reading


Nebraska law created by KKK forces nuns to remove habits in the classroom Watch

Image of Nuns are not allowed to wear their habits in Nebraska classrooms (not pictured).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Sister Madeleine Miller applied for a teaching job at a Nebraska high school. Unbeknownst to her, a shocking, nearly century-old, law calls for her to remove all religious clothing before stepping foot on school grounds. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The law bans ... continue reading


This pope is about to do something controversial when the Virgin Mary sends a message... Watch

Image of Pope Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun as he debated affirming the Assumption of Mary.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Venerable Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun in 1950, which he took as confirmation of an important declaration. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Pope Venerable Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun in 1950. At that time, he faced a decision. He wanted to ... continue reading


Catholic school faces lawsuit for firing gay teacher Watch

Image of Charlotte Catholic High School is involved in a discrimination case against a teacher involved in a same-sex civil marriage.

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

A lawsuit against a Catholic high school claims that it was illegal discrimination to fire a teacher for contracting a same-sex civil marriage, but a law professor suggests the case will not make any progress. Charlotte, NC (CNA/EWTN News) - "What they're trying to do ... continue reading


Dominicans celebrate 800-year anniversary with special reflection and prayers Watch

Image of Dominicans celebrate 800 year anniversary with reflection and prayer.

By Hannah Brockhaus (CNA/EWTN News)

As the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans, celebrate the 800th anniversary of their founding, they gather in Rome from around the world to reflect on their history, their charism of preaching, and how they can continue to put this charism at the service ... continue reading


Our Lady of Fatima will be crowned by Cardinal Nichols at initiation of the 100-year anniversary Watch

Image of An Our Lady of Fatima statue still be crowned to begin the centenary year (Mary Anne Urlakis).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The World Apostolate of Fatima National Pilgrim Virgin statue will be received, blessed and crowned by Cardinal Nichols on Saturday February 18, 2017. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This year is the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's appearance to three children in ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 9:2-3, 11-14
2 There was a tent which comprised two compartments: the first, in which ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:20-21
20 He went home again, and once more such a crowd collected that they ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 21st, 2017 Image

St. Agnes
January 21: St. Agnes of Rome was born in 291 AD and raised ... Read More