Voices Online Edition
VOICES - Vol. XX No. 3
Christmas 2005 - Epiphany 2006
Pope Benedict XVI On Reading Sacred Scripture
The Church and the Word of God are inseparably linked. The Church lives on the Word of God and the Word of God echoes through the Church, in her teaching and throughout her life (cf. Dei Verbum n. 8). The Apostle Peter, therefore, reminds us that no prophecy contained in Scripture can be subjected to a personal interpretation. “Prophecy has never been put forward by man’s willing it. It is rather that men impelled by the Holy Spirit have spoken under God's influence”. (II Peter 1:20)
We are grateful to God that in recent times, and thanks to the impact made by the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum the fundamental importance of the Word of God has been deeply re-evaluated. From this has derived a renewal of the Church’s life, especially in her preaching, catechesis, theology and spirituality, and even in the ecumenical process. The Church must be constantly renewed and rejuvenated and the Word of God, which never ages and is never depleted, is a privileged means to achieve this goal. Indeed, it is the Word of God, through the Holy Spirit, which always guides us to the whole truth. (cf. John 16:13)
In this context, I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: “the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to Him with trusting openness of heart”. (cf. DV n. 25) If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church -- I am convinced of it -- a new spiritual springtime.
As a strong point of biblical ministry, Lectio divina should therefore be increasingly encouraged, also through the use of new methods, carefully thought through and in step with the times. It should never be forgotten that the Word of God is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. (cf. Psalm 119:105) --
from the pope’s address to the international congress,
“Sacred Scripture and the Life of the Church”, September 16, 2005
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