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Rediscovering the Word of God
St. Augustine wrote that when Christians read and meditate on the Sacred Scriptures,
- their minds are enlightened,
- their wills are strengthened and
- their hearts are set on fire with the love of God.
The latest post-synodal exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, helps us discover this truth of the divine word of God, reminding us that this word is the source of constant renewal for the Church. The Synod met from October 5 - 26, 2008 reflecting on 'The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church'. The document Verbum Domini was published on September 30, 2010 on the memorial of St. Jerome.
The interpretation of Sacred Scripture: The synod reflected on the debates connected with the role of exegetes – ‘professionals who study sacred Scriptures and are called to interpret the Bible’. Verbum Domini reflects on the vocation of exegetes and teachers of Scripture and the presentation of hermeneutics (the practice of interpretation) in a “clear and constructive way”. The Holy Father says, “In their work of interpretation, Catholic exegetes must never forget that what they are interpreting is the word of God. Their common task is not finished when they have simply determined sources, defined forms or explained literary procedures. They arrive at the true goal of their work only when they have explained the meaning of the biblical text as God’s word for today.”
Divine Reading: A prayerful reading of the word of God, or lectio divina, is one of the strongest, clearest and most appropriate way of understanding of the Scriptures. The word of God is the light that enlightens our life. It is the basis of all authentic Christian spirituality. Jesus employs different literary forms like parables, allegories in his teachings.
- A parable is a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt of its precise application to tease it into active thought. In encouraging the one who has ears to hear, Jesus encourages us to grapple with his message.
The New Evangelization: Verbum Domini promotes the new evangelization. To evangelize is to preach the Good News proclaimed to us more that 2,000 years ago. The good news is the same, with Jesus, yesterday, today and forever. It is always fresh and relevant, new and promising.
The Source of Peace and Reconciliation: In the word of God, everything is reconciled in Jesus (2 Cor 5:18-20; Eph 1:10). Christ is our Peace, He breaks down the walls of division (Eph 2:14).
The Holy Scripture, Verbum Domini is truly the soul of theology and Christian reflection living the life of grace in Jesus, the Word of God: the on-going renewal and life of the Church.