Breaking Open the Word of God

Editor’s note: Catholic Exchange is privileged to present to its viewers a series of recommendations for strengthening the teaching ministry of the Church, including the teaching ministry of our Catholic schools. They are taken, and slightly adapted, from the Synod Study Paper on Teaching the Faith, prepared for the Vancouver Archdiocesan Synod which is currently underway in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. This document is a working paper which will form the basis for one of the final documents of the Synod. Catholic Exchange is grateful to J. Fraser Field, Executive Officer of Catholic Educator’s Resource Center for adapting these recommendations and securing permission for Catholic Exchange to present them to you. Mr. Field was also one of several contributors to the document.

6/ Breaking Open the Word of God

The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful…to learn ‘the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ,’ by frequent reading of the divine scriptures. ‘Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 133)

Many of the responses to the pre-synodal survey spoke of the desire for a deeper understanding of and education in the Scriptures. This hunger for the Word of God is a positive and important “sign of our times.” The Holy Spirit, who continually sanctifies the Church and confirms her in her mission of evangelization, is surely the source of this longing. By reading the Scriptures prayerfully and searchingly, we encounter the Living Christ who calls us to an ever fuller experience of Him in the Sacraments and life of the Church.

It is recommended that:

Action items:

  • All Catholic families be encouraged to have a Bible in the home and to read the Bible during times of family prayer. It is further recommended that we develop programs to help parents understand how to use the Bible to teach the faith. Bibles should be presented to children early.

  • Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), an ancient Christian method of meditative reading of sacred scripture resulting in a loving reflection, should be encouraged and taught. Unlike detached scholarly reading, which satisfies the intellect, Lectio Divina tends to promote genuine insight into scripture as well as spiritual growth and maturity through conversion and intimate conversation with Christ.

Editor's note: This is the final feature in the series.

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