Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Bible

There's an an article in USCCB web site, by Mary Elizabeth Sperry on reading the Bible. She gives ten ways to read Scripture. These are very useful for all in the Arise program.

The two that my Arise group used were the praying at the beginning and end of the meeting, and discussing what God was saying to each of us.

That's what's so great about the Bible. It speaks to us individually. We each hear individually just what we need. That's why it's so neat to have the habit of reading Scripture.

And don't let anyone ever tell you that Catholics don't do that. Or that the Church discouraged private reading of the Bible before Vatican II. That is not the truth.

When the early church was just starting most people were illiterate, so the Bible had to be read and explained by the church. Also, books were expensive and had to be treasured, so they were protected from theft, not the people. The Bible was in Latin as was the custom of the times. You have to judge history by the culture and society of the times--not with our twentieth century eyes.

As the Mass was developed, so were the Scripture readings. Through the centuries we have the form of One Reading is Old Testament, then one of the Psalms, and then Readings from the New Testament. Through the ages, Mass goers would have heard this. And over the Church's three year liturgical cycle, the people hear almost all of the Bible.

Catholics may use the Bible differently than Protestants, but that doesn't mean that our knowledge of the Bible is less, or inferior. We weren't taught to memorize chapters and verses in Sunday School because our use of the Bible is different than most Protestants. Catholics use the Bible in worship, meditation, and study. Most Protestants use the Bible for knowledge in study and inspiration.

Catholics can tell the parable, the meaning, and faith share with the best. But we may not be able to give you the chapter and the verse number. That would be nice, even impressive, but we concentrate on the instruction, as instructed. (Rom 2: 28-29)

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