Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/13/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Europe

HITTING WALL: Nation of Greece prepares for economic meltdown Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nation of Greece, after years of scolding by the European Union over its fiscal irresponsibility is headed to an inevitable meltdown. Cash reserves are dwindling by the minute, sure to disintegrate the ruling coalition. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


The new 'Iron Curtain': Hungary plans massive border fence to keep migrants out Watch

Image of Border fence between United States and Mexico.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Critics are not happy with the Hungarian government's plan to construct a 13-foot high border fence to narrow down the influx of illegal migrants coming to their country. The planned border is being compared to the historically terrifying Auschwitz and Iron Curtain ... continue reading


Horrific terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait unleashed simultaneously Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three different terrorist attacks occurred in three different areas, leaving a bloody line of death across three continents. The recent and horrific attacks reawaken the fear that ISIS' influence knows no boundaries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The attacks took ... continue reading


Mystery surrounds disappearance of American woman on ancient Catholic pilgrimage in Spain Watch

Image of Denise Thiem mysteriously disappears during her Catholic Pilgrimage in Spain.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Denise Thiem, an American woman who quit her job to go around the world, disappeared while in a Catholic Pilgrimage in Astorga, Spain and has been missing for more than three months  Thiem's family is continuously searching for answers from the Spanish authorities ... continue reading


Riots and protests prompt the banning of the Uber taxi service in France Watch

Image of The taxi protests in Paris have shined yet another unflattering spotlight on the world's most popular tourist destination. Politicians on both sides of the spectrum condemned the violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Denied their livelihood by the cyber-taxi service Uber, which pairs up paying passengers with unlicensed drivers, cab drivers overturned cars and blocked roads in Paris. The Uber service is already illegal in France, and the French government reiterated this ... continue reading


ZOMBIE PARANOIA: Gravesites suggest that fear of reanimated dead stretches back to ancient Greece Watch

Image of The head and feet of one skeleton were covered with a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Modern man enjoys movies and TV shows involving the recently reanimated dead - "zombies," but in antiquity, the fear of the deceased suddenly coming back to life to wreak havoc with the living was at one time a real one. Skeletons have been unearthed and found ... continue reading


Ukraine's fragile ceasefire nearing collapse as rebels pound government positions Watch

Image of Fighters in Russian military uniforms and equipped with Russian military gear, though lacking insignias, have been spotted in Ukraine since early last year, part of a destabilizing effort to overthrow the Kiev government.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The abundance of evidence that Russia is covertly and overtly assisting Ukrainian rebels in their fight against Kiev continues to grow, and now the commander of U.S. forces in Europe said that there is "clear and irrefutable evidence" that Russia is actively ... continue reading


Panicked Greeks withdraw $1 billion from banks in a single day Watch

Image of Expressing a mood of panic, and a resignation that no further help from Europe is forthcoming, Greeks withdrew over $1.1 billion dollars from their bank accounts last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Expressing a mood of panic, and a resignation that no further help from Europe is forthcoming, Greeks withdrew over $1.1 billion dollars from their bank accounts last week. This pushes the beleaguered European nation closer towards a default. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Doctors found euthanizing patients without knowledge -- or consent in Belgium Watch

Image of Belgium became the first nation in the world in 2014 to eliminate age limits for euthanasia, allowing terminally-ill children to end their lives.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the "forward-thinking" European nation of Belgium, it has been discovered that many doctors there - pun intended. - have been "jumping the gun." Raphael Cohen-Almagor, a professor of philosophy and ethics at the United Kingdom's Hull University, has ... continue reading


Pope Francis' environmental encyclical will be published this Thursday Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis' long awaited environmental encyclical, entitled Laudato Si, on the care of our common home will be published this Thursday. The encyclical tackles issues such as climate change. It is expected to be met with controversy. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... 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, Genesis 28:10-22
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:18-26
18 While he was speaking to them, suddenly one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 6th, 2015 Image

St. Maria Goretti
July 6: Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her ... 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