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.

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for NOVEMBER 2016
Universal:
Countries Receiving Refugees: That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity.
Evangelization: Collaboration of Priests and Laity: That within parishes, priests and lay people may collaborate in service to the community without giving in to the temptation of discouragement.



Comments


More Living Faith

Fr. Stanley Rother becomes first American-born martyr Watch

Image of Father Stanley Rother was proclaimed a martyr.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has recognized Father Stanley Rother as a martyr. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fr. Rother was born in Oklahoma City, OK, making him the first martyr born in the United States.In 1986, he was sent to Santiago Atitlan from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma ... continue reading


Pope Francis announces the December prayer intention Watch

Image of Pope Francis calls us to pray for child soldiers.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis revealed his December prayer intention on Thursday, prompting millions to unite in prayer. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis' prayer intention for the month of December is to end child soldiers.End to ... continue reading


Seven bishops, one abbot, and a psychiatrist dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops  fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, gathered with about 25 peace activists [not pictured].

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, gathered with about 25 peace activists - myself included - to share a simple meal and consider the horrible emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds suffered by ... continue reading


What is the Catholic Church doing in Australia? Watch

Image of The Catholic Church is hard at work.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Catholic Church in Australia has been hard at work to establish a permanent form of change in the community and, if successful, possibly the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Catholic Church in Australia established a new independent non-profit to ... continue reading


'We pray with Christian hope' - Pope Francis reminds us to pray for the living AND the dead Watch

Image of Pope Francis asks us to pray.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

In his last set of catechesis on mercy, Pope Francis focused on the works of praying for the living and the dead, as well as burying the dead, insisting that since we are all part of one family in Christ, we must remember to pray constantly for one another. Vatican ... continue reading


The 100th Fatima anniversary brings with it three ways to obtain an indulgence Watch

Image of Invoke Our Lady of Fatima.

By Maria Ximena Rondon (CNA/EWTN News)

For the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, Pope Francis has decided to grant a plenary indulgence opportunity throughout the entire anniversary year, which began Nov. 27, 2016, and will end Nov. 26, 2017. Fatima, Portugal (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


What happens when an atheist encounters Christ? This poet found out for herself Watch

Image of Sally Read was an atheist, now she is a Catholic.

By David Kerr - CNA

"Until two years ago, I was a really committed atheist and I really hated the Catholic Church," said poet Sally Read, as she explained how all that dramatically changed during nine months in 2010. "The whole process took from March to December, and I was received into ... continue reading


Lost tablets confirmed to speak of Christ, but is the story they tell true? Watch

Image of Do these tablets add a chapter to the Gospel of Christ?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Researchers have confirmed the authenticity of lead tablets that discuss Jesus Christ and date to the period of His ministry. As genuine artifacts, they serve as an additional, non-Biblical source to reference the existence of Christ. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Special prayers dedicated for victims of the tragic Colombia plane crash Watch

Image of Join us in prayer for the victims and their loved ones.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During his general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican, Pope Francis called for prayers for the victims of the plane crash in Colombia and their families. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The pontiff shared the crash reminded him of the 1949 Superga air crash, ... continue reading


Choose humility over theatrics - Pope Francis explains the difference Watch

Image of The Pope explains humility.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Christians must pursue true humility as they remember the "smallness" of Christmas, Pope Francis said in his Tuesday homily. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "Humility is the virtue of the childlike and this is true humility and not a rather theatrical humility: ... 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, Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26
19 Yes, people of Zion living in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh -- it is good to sing psalms to our God -- how ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:35--10:1, 6-8
35 Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 3rd, 2016 Image

St. Francis Xavier
December 3: St. Francis Xavier was a Navarrese-Basque Roman ... Read More