Old as the Creation, new like each dawn
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(The content has been first published in Greek, in the September 2009 issue of the Informative Bulletin of the Paphos Latin Parish).
It has been said that the Holy Scripture is the love story between God and His People. Indeed, the sacred texts, written under the influence of the Holy Spirit, initiate us to the love of God and show us in relief, from the distant past, the human response to the divine calling.
It is the record of the continual dialogue between God and man. It is a dialogue which remains alive and continues to concern us, since in the persons of God’s friends and “foes” we may recognize ourselves.
Christ’s, the Son’s of God coming, is at the centre of the Scriptures, because in the Old Testament the events were preparing the way for His coming and can be considered as the “prototypes” predicting the life and action of Christ. Jesus “completes the Law and the Prophets” and fulfills what all generations were unable to do: He offers himself to God, entirely and perfectly, for our sake and in our name! Being free from sin He makes known to us His Heavenly Father by His teaching and works and, finally, renders us “children of God” and “heirs of His kingdom” through His death on the cross.
The Resurrection of Christ is the sealing and affirmation of this everlasting love story, old as the Creation, new like each dawn.
The prayerful and attentive Lectio Divina, (the reading of the Holy Scriptures) introduces us to this love story which has no end. On the contrary, it is continued and renewed with every man and woman coming into the world.
For this reason, before we open the Gospel or any other sacred text let us be aware that we enter into dialogue with God’s living Word. We enter into an extremely dynamic love relation which has the power to radically transform us.
Let us, therefore, seek out the Holy Spirit to guide us in our search.
Take and read
Saint Augustine (354-430 AD), one of the Latin Fathers of the Church and bishop of Hippo, nowadays Annaba in Algeria, describes in his “Confessions” one of the basic factors which contributed to his conversion. A little girl, playing in the garden next to his, was repeating in a sing-song and loud voice: “Tolle et lege”, that is “Take and read” in Latin. Judging this as a divine sign, Augustine who was tormented in his search for the face of God, took into his hands the Bible and began to read it. Overwhelmed by the truth and beauty of the Word of God he gets finally baptized in 386 by Saint Ambrose, bishop of Milan.
Along with Saint Paul he is considered a most important figure of the early Church for the spread and establishment of Christianity in the West.
Did you know…
The Bible contains 66 books written at various times and in various places by different authors whom the Holy Spirit inspired, so that they wrote down first the Old Testament (39 books), and later the New Testament (27 books). The Old Testament is the old agreement God made with His People and Moses is the principal representative of it since he received by God on mount Sinai the Ten Commandments, circa 1200 B.C.
The new agreement is made through the mediation of Christ between God and His new People, the Christians.
What is this new agreement? It is not the Mosaic Law, but the Law of the Gospel, the Law of sacrificial love freely offered to all. Fraternal love and charity lead directly to the heart of God and they give to those who exercise it, and to those who receive it, life and happiness ; they do not come to an end with physical death, but participate in the Resurrection of the God-Man.
For the building of a better world
The International Catholic Bible Association was founded by Blessed Pope Paul VI on 16 April 1969 following the Second Vatican Council. One of the many particular applications of the doctrine of Faith as it is expounded in the Apostolic document Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) has already forty-seven years of existence and activity.
The organization is present in 134 countries and it stands out by its pluralism in unity (of faith) thanks to the living and vital use it makes of the Holy Bible, in harmony with the Magisterium, i.e. the teaching authority of the Church.
It numbers more than 330 institutes-members which are committed to assist the people so as to experience the vivifying message of the Bible in their every day life.
The purpose of the association is to encourage and promote the awareness of the unique importance of the Holy Scriptures at every level of the Church’s life. Rooted in the Catholic Church the International Catholic Bible Association is open to ecumenism and to inter-confessional dialogue. It supports tolerance and respect of other cultures and religions and actively works towards reconciliation, justice and peace.
Earthly and heavenly wisdom
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