The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Keeping HIS Word

Our own curiosity often hindereth us in reading of the Scriptures, when we desire to understand and discuss that which we should rather without more ado pass over. If thou desire to reap profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faithfulness; nor ever desire the reputation of learning. Enquire willingly, and hear with silence the words of holy men: let not the proverbs of the elders displease thee, for they are not recounted without cause.
Thomas A. Kempis
The Imitation of Christ

An incredible event happens every hour of every day inside a Catholic Church somewhere in the world. At mass, the word of God gets proclaimed. Even as one reads this sentence, somewhere in the world God's words are exhalted in the celebration of the sacred mysteries.

Is it not incredible that God has given humanity His word to encounter? And yet most people put more stock in the dimestore philosophy displayed on a Starbucks coffee cup than in sacred scripture. The Bible seems to reside in the category of something one should have, but to actually read it requires a bit more commitment than most are willing to afford.

What is more important than the word of God?

Interestingly enough, over the centuries 6.7 billion copies of the Bible have been produced. Right now there are about 6.7 billion people on planet Earth. A very distant second is Quotations from Chairman Mao written by Mao Tse-Tung. There are 900 million copies of that book which is to serve the 1.3 billion Chinese. And while 1.5 billion people practice Islam, only 800 million copies of The Qur’an exist.

For Western culture, which tends to put all of its eggs in the basket of empirical science, scripture presents a challenge. To accept anything on faith alone bucks the message from the culture that every truth has a corresponding proof. Many take the position of needing so much evidence that the Bible is the word of God. For many it's a passive denial. Case in point, how many Christian homes does one walk into where a copy of the Bible is kept in some place of honor? Sadly, too few. Mostly one finds it on a bookshelf equal in status to Harry Potter or perhaps Websters Dictionary if one organizes one's books by fiction versus non-fiction.

Yet if one believes in The Almighty, how can one not be in awe that this loving God chose to communicate with His creation in a way that could be read or heard? And that being the case, should not His sacred scripture be honored and reverenced even if one does not gain full understanding of His word? Perhaps if one approached scripture more as a great work of art versus a John Grisham novel, then one would be more inclined to accept the elements beyond one's current day comprehension. For scripture speaks a language that is best understood with the heart and its infinite capacity for love versus the finite limitations of human intellect.

When the lector finishes his reading at mass and proclaims to the congregation, "The word of The Lord," what does that mean? If one is offering a perfunctory, monotone mumbling of "Thanks be to God," then perhaps one should examine the sincerity of one's presence at this sacred meal. God's word, not man's, has just been spoken. There exists no more important words that one will encounter that day.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
John 1:14

God's word proclaimed in the mass is second only to God's word becoming flesh in the Eucharist. For in this sacrament all of the senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste are engaged in the reception of Our Lord's body, blood, soul, and divinity. One reads of this encounter in scripture, and then one experiences it, first hand, in communion.

One will hear or read a lot of words in any given day. Take the time, make the time to lend an ear towards the ones that originate from Our Heavenly Father. For scripture is perhaps best regarded as a heart to heart dialogue between Father and child.


Blogger Karinann said...

The reading of God's Word had a great part in leading me back to my Catholic faith. Now, six years later, I can not go a day without it-whether it be at daily Mass or at home with my Douay-Rheims.
Yes, Thanks Be To God for his Word in the Eucharist and in Scripture.

6:21 AM  
Blogger conceptseller said...

If you believe bible is the word of God then you can not but follow Jesus.But after reading the bible daily if you haven't changed or repented of your evil ways , you don't know who God is.

2:21 AM  

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