People of the Word

Today, the church celebrates the feast of St. Luke, one of the four evangelists and author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts. There is this stereotype that Catholics do not know Scripture. It is true that many Catholics are not in the habit of praying with Scripture or involved in Scripture study groups. The false part of the stereotype is that Catholics do not emphasize Scripture.

Catholics are people of the Word. Catholics believe that Sculpture is at the heart of God’s revelation. In our celebration of the Eucharist, we proclaim that Jesus is present in the Word, in the Eucharist, in the person of the priest and in the community.  Scripture is a living word!

Scripture and the New Evanglization

As part of the New Evangelization, we want all Catholics to grow in their relationship with our Lord, to love the Lord more deeply and more fully. Like any relationship rooted in love, the better we know a person, the more we love a person and the more we love a person, the better we come to know that person.

Lectio Divina

To celebrate today’s feast, I am offering an adapted version of Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina is the ancient practice of praying with Scripture, traced back to Saint Benedict and the founding of Western monasticism. What I love about Lectio is that is really helps one discover in Scripture words, images and insights that can be overlooked because the stories have become so familiar to us or because at this moment, this word or this image has real meaning for the place in which we find ourselves. While Lectio Divina invites us to take up Scripture in a quiet contemplative exercise, for many of us, those moments are hard to find in the course of our day. I would hate for us to think we can’t do it because we do not have 20 or 30 minutes of quiet for prayer.

In one of my diaconate classes, a deacon candidate shared a very creative approach to Lectio on the run. He is a bus driver for the Montgomery County School System. He starts his day at daily Mass and listens to the Gospel. He listens for the word or image that seems to shout out to him or really captures his attention and then at each stop his bus makes he recalls that image or word and thinks a little more about it. So, his Lectio  unfolds in the course of his day.  However it makes sense in your life, do practice this ancient and yet ever new form of Catholic prayer.

Modified Lectio Divina

Read the passage through twice; slowly and deliberately, with a pause between the first reading and the second reading. What word or phrase catches your attention or is meaningful to you?

Reflect  for  1-2 minutes in silence on the reading. Identify the word or phrase that has settled in your mind.

Reflect  for  2-3 minutes on the meaning of the word or passage in your life today.

Request  a grace from the Lord that relates to your reflection. Ask the Lord to help you recognize the fruit of your reflection in action. 

Read  the passage a third time. Sit silently for 1-2 minutes.

3 Replies to “People of the Word”

  1. This is how we did it in RCIA 🙂 At first I thought it was silly and overkill, but as always my catechists know better. Thank you for reminding me how to get the most out of it.

  2. Very good post Dr. T.

    May I add my own observations as a convert what I have personally experienced by coming into the Church and also the testimonies of many cradle Catholics and those who grew up in the Church in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s about knowing Scriputre. While it is very true that the Catholic Faith is strong in reading scripture daily and praying the Psalms. What I think we all need to work on is application and defending the Faith via the scriptures. Here’s a definition of where I think the problem lies.

    Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, “by scripture alone”) is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning from scripture. However, sola scriptura is not a denial of other authorities governing Christian life and devotion. Rather, it simply demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God. Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today.

    All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

    Beyond the Reformation, as in some Evangelical and Baptist denominations, sola scriptura is stated even more strongly: it is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter (“Scripture interprets Scripture”), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine.

    By contrast, the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches teach that the Scriptures are not the only infallible source of Christian doctrine. For them Scripture is but one of three equal authorities; the other two being Sacred Tradition and the episcopacy.

    I think the Church scores 100 on Sacred Tradition and the episcopacy, we just need to work on understanding how all of this fits into our day to day lives.

    1. JJ, thank you for this excellent and concise explanation of sola scriptura. Hopefully a fruit of the New Evangelization will be that Catholics grow in their confidence to share the faith weaving scripture and tradition with personal experience.

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