St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Church has the treaure map

The Lenten series continues tonight at St A’s with a talk on “The Scriptural Journey of Mary – the Rosary” by Rev. John Langlois, O.P. 7:30 p.m. in the Church
Anon asked: “Why does the language in the Bible have to be so hard to decipher? Why is it a puzzle? Not to sound flippant, but wouldn't everyone have been better served if they just got to the point?”

Tom answered: “For one thing, the books of the Bible were written more than nineteen hundred years ago, over the course of centuries, in different languages and out of different cultures, for different purposes and in different literary genres. All of that works against the Bible being as easy to read and understand as a newspaper.

Even more, though, the Bible is a written record of God's revelation of Himself to man, and a means for us to encounter Him personally. These things can't be expressed in words that give their full meaning in one reading.You read Scripture once, and come to know something about God, but if you keep reading it you come to know God Himself, and the better you know God the more you understand His word.”

We have to keep in mind a few things in approaching who God is and what He’s done for us. First, God’s ways are not our ways. He is mysterious; He works in mysterious ways and speaks in mysterious ways. Our finite minds cannot understand the Infinite. And, God is the Infinite. Second, Divine Revelation is an incredible gift! As Tom wrote, God reveals Himself to us, and lets us know who he is. We learn from Sacred Scripture that God is our Father, and we are his children. People lived thousands of years waiting to hear that; we hear it, and don’t seem to appreciate it. It reminds me of some times when I’ve seen kids get amazing toys from their parents as gifts, and complain that they have to read the instruction first to know how to use them. We don’t want to be spoiled children of God the Father!

Lastly, God has given us the Spirit to help to understand Scripture. The Spirit not only has written Sacred Scripture, but also interprets it, through the Church. For 2000 years, one of the main objectives of the Church is to be open to the Spirit in growing in an understanding of Sacred Scripture. In Church councils, the Catechism, and Biblical commentaries, we have Scripture explained to us. These are the main “instructions” on how to use the gift of Scripture. Anyone who studies Scripture with an open mind and heart will be rewarded with a greater understanding of God, life, and themselves. It is well worth the effort! It might take more than one reading, as Tom wrote, but when we begin to gain an understanding of Divine Revelation, it is like finding a great treasure (cf. Mt 13:44). Through the Spirit, the Church has the map.


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