Read the Bible (latin Mass)

9th Week after Pentecost
Beloved in Jesus Christ, St. Augustine, who lived back in the 4th century, is one of the great saints of the Church. St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas are the two pillars of theology and influence in the Church. But St. Augustine was not much of a saint when he was young, he got into mega-trouble! He experimented with different religions, his life was on a sinful path, really the path to hell. But his mother never stopped praying for him, and eventually, he began to feel a pain in his heart, that he was not following Jesus Christ. He prayed, he tried to learn more about the faith, but he was continually torn inside, still attached to the lust and sin of his lifestyle.
.
Then one day he was sitting in a garden with this tortured heart of his; he wanted to follow Jesus, but he didn’t feel he had the strength to give up his sin. He tells us about that day: ‘I prayed and wept: O Lord, how long will you be angry with me for all my sins.’ Suddenly I noticed a voice of a child in the neighboring house, saying and repeating: ‘Take up and read. Take up and read.’ I began to think of what kind of a game this might be by which they said this, but I felt that it was meant for me, to hear this as a command from God to open the Holy Bible that was there, and to read the first thing I should find.
.
‘I remembered how St. Anthony, how having heard the Gospel, he changed his whole life – eagerly I picked up the Sacred Book and opened, and I read that on which my eyes first fell: ‘Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.’ No further would I need to read, for instantly a light of serenity came into my heart and all my doubts vanished. I showed the passage to my friend Alypius, and he too decided to join me in a new way of life. Then we went to tell my mother.
.
Friends in Christ, St. Augustine, St. Anthony, and so many other people have had their life changed by reading the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Bible reveals to us the Word of God. Through the Sacred pages, Christ himself speaks. Of course the Holy Gospels are Jesus’ direct words – but in fact, every word of the Holy Bible is Him speaking to us, even if within some of the mysterious and strange stories of the Old Testament.
.
The Sacred authors, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit have communicated God’s Word to us. Fr. Lawrence Hennesey says, ‘Let the Holy Scriptures wash over you each and every day. If you go to bed and remember you have not read, turn on the light, read a few lines, and then go to sleep.’ St. Jerome says: ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,’ and every single master of the spiritual life, saints through the ages, urge us to read the Bible daily.
.
I’ve head people say, ‘Oh, the Catholic Church tries to prevent you from reading the bible.’ This is NONSENSE. I have a Catholic bible in my room from 1948, and on the first introductory page it urges Catholics to read the bible and grants a special indulgence for doing so.[i] One can receive a Plenary Indulgence by reading the Bible 30 minutes.
.
Today in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians, he is describing the events of the Old Testament – the tests that Israel underwent in the desert, in which some were faithful, and others not. He says, ‘These things happened to them in figure, but they were written for our correction.’ In Romans he will say: ‘everything that was written was written to teach us.’ And to Timothy he writes: All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, and to instruct. Every word in the bible is to assist us and guide us.
.
Recall that scene in the gospel about Martha and Mary; Martha is so pre-occupied, super-busy – meanwhile, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet listening to him speak. Christ says, that is better. Avoiding prayer due to busyness doesn’t cut it with Jesus Christ.
.
We ourselves often fail to make time to listen to God; we can use busyness to escape facing the Lord or ourselves. Although it is true that we must live up to the duties and responsibilities of each day, it is most important that we give God some time, that we listen to him. This is in our prayers, in our rosary, in some quiet, but it must also be in hearing his Word in the Holy Scriptures. If we read and ponder and pray, we will find Jesus there, waiting for us. We will find him there as did St. Augustine, and so many others. Our Lord wants time with us; he wants to speak to us, he wants us to listen to his Word.
.
St. Theresa says, the world needs souls that are on fire for Christ, who pray, who sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to his Word. Now in reading the Bible, we can notice there are 4 senses of scripture: First is the literal sense, which is the plain meaning of the sentences, understood according to the place and the customs of the day. Second, is the allegorical sense, which teaches by symbol; for example, the Passover lamb which was sacrificed, and freed the people from slavery; it is a symbol of Christ, the Lamb who was sacrificed to free us from sin. Thirdly, the moral sense. Scripture teaches us how to live. For example, the parable of the foolish virgins with their lamps teaches us not to put off our conversion to Christ, or it will be too late for us. Finally, the fourth sense of scripture is the anagogical sense, in which our minds are fixed on our true goal, which is heaven. For example, the journey of Israel through the desert represents our journey through this life to the Promised Land which is heaven.
.
So – four sense of scripture: The literal sense speaks of events; allegory reveals faith; the moral sense teaches how to act; the anagogical sense points to heaven. When reading the bible, we may focus on the literal meaning or on the spiritual meaning, but there are no rules; we may be moved to love God, to fear our sins, to be thankful – or praise Him – did I say, ‘to praise Him!’ There are no rules; as St. Augustine heard, just take and read.
.
St. Francis says, when meditating on some passage, imitate the bees: they work on a flower until they have extracted all the nectar, only then do they move on to another. Therefore, rest in a passage of Scripture until it brings no more sweetness, and then read more.
.
And the Blessed Virgin – Mary is in the bible too. Her last recorded words were: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ ‘So Lord, what are you telling me? We can’t know, unless we take and read.
Mary, pray for us, that no matter how busy we are, there will always be a little time each day for the Word of God.

.

[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Augustine]

.

[i] Catechism #133 The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful….to the frequent reading of the divine Scriptures

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation