Category Archives: Holy Scripture
It was said of at least two of the saints that they knew the Old and New Testaments by heart. One of these was Saint Lawrence of Brindisi and the other was Saint Mark the Ascetic. It is recorded the biography of the former that a fellow friar once asked him what would happen if the Protestants took over Christendom and burned every Catholic Bible. To which he replied that he could write the whole Bible from his memory. Saint Mark, who had the same gift, was a disciple of Saint John Chrysostom.
Well, our own Brother Francis knew the four Gospels by heart — three of them in Latin and one in Greek. He achieved this by reading the scriptures every day, even as he performed manual chores. After his duties were over, he would take a walk in the woods and repeat what he had memorized earlier. It was surely the Providence of God that Brother’s principal duty in the religious community was to do the laundry.
It is a praiseworthy thing to read the scriptures, but there is no canonical indulgence for just reading, the indulgence is given to those who meditate on the scriptures, even for fifteen minutes at a time.
In order to understand the scriptures, one needs a good Catholic teacher, who was himself taught by another Catholic teacher. Teacher to student, generation after generation, cultivating the word of God in the soil of the intellect. Pope Benedict XVI is such a teacher. His insights into the scriptures, which he shares with the Church on a regular basis, are doctrinally profound and, at the same time, clear and digestible. Brother Francis was certainly such a teacher. His expositions of so many books of the Bible are as fecund as they are erudite.
Another way to understand the sacred text is to read the commentaries of the saints, especially the doctors of the Church. Saint Jerome’s admonition still reverberates sixteen centuries after he uttered it: “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
One of our tertiaries sent me a link this morning with a video provocatively entitled, “Did Jesus Give us the Name of the Antichrist?” He asked my opinion on it, and this is my reply (which will not make sense unless you see the 4 minute video, which I could not imbed in this posting for technical reasons) … Dear Sam, This is typical hysterical nonsense … More →
Now that Lent has begun I offer a few brief considerations from Our Savior’s passion, death, and burial, that anticipate Easter. First, consider the two disciples on their heavy walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a neighboring city. Their hearts are so despondent, maybe even in despair, after leaving the holy city following upon the death of their Lord and Master. They had, it seems, lost … More →
I discovered this sermon of the great eastern doctor of the Church in my quest to find the meaning of the words, twice repeated, by Saint John the Baptist regarding the public manifestation of Jesus at his baptism near the Jordan River: “And I knew Him not”. Saint John gives an excellent explanation of what appears at first sight to be a problematic text. How … More →
One dominant feature that is pervasive in holy scripture, testifying to its divine inspiration, is that there is no exaggerating the good nor whitewashing the evil in God’s people. Beginning with Adam and Eve actually trying to hide themselves from God “amidst the trees” after their sin, and on through the Bible, the triumphs and failures of the principal characters in the history of the … More →
And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away. (St. Matthew 11:12) I love it that nothing of the words of our Blessed Lord has the mark of mediocrity. It’s never just a truism – something that Confucius could have said. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. [Somebody once said, … More →
Someone wrote me to ask that question. I thought the answer might be of more general interest. To answer your questions regarding Holy Scripture and the use of the word “supernatural,” let me first address what nature and supernature are. First, everything that is comes from God. God is called “the author of the natural and the supernatural.” From the point of view of God, … More →
CNA: In his daily homily Pope Francis reflected on the end times, saying that faith will be increasingly pushed out of the public square and that persecution of Christians is a “prophecy” of what is to come. The Pope directed his comments to those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse for his daily Mass on Nov. 28. Reflecting on the day’s … More →
Perusing through some old files of mine I came across a list of Catholic twelves, and there are many: Twelve Apostles; twelve articles of the Apostles Creed; twelve days of Christmas; twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost; twelve tribes of Israel; twelve loaves of proposition in the temple sanctuary; twelve chiefs of Ismael; Jesus was twelve-years-old when He was first teaching in the temple; twelve … More →
Two paragraphs exerpted from Pope Francis’ Address to the Pontifical Biblical Commission: As we know, the Holy Scriptures are the testimony in written form of God’s Word, the canonical memorial that attests to the event of Revelation. The Word of God, therefore, precedes and exceeds the Bible. It is for this reason that the center of our faith is not only a book, but a … More →
I have been reading a few good articles about Our Lord’s baptism on Catholic websites, one by Carl Olson for the Catholic World Report, another by Monsignor Charles Pope for the Archdiocese of Washington website, and lastly the Sunday sermon of Pope Benedict XVI. Carl Olson cites a number of the fathers of the Church commenting on the mystery of the baptism of the sinless … More →
Thanks to the guiding wisdom of my teacher, Brother Francis, I have a strong disdain for modern biblical criticism. Initiated by eighteenth century Protestant rationalists, such as Eichorn and Schleiermacher, this school of skeptics for two centuries now have been on a mission to reduce the Bible to a discontinuous collection of moral aphorisms, historical fabrications, and myths. Pope Leo XIII condemned secular biblical scholarship … More →
Just imagine this. The religious Jews were in expectation of the prophesied coming of the Messiah. The scepter had passed from Juda and the seventy weeks of Daniel were at an end, when “the Saint of saints” was to appear. Imagine discovering, as a middle-aged man, that your cousin, Jesus, son of your uncle Joseph, was He. That was the experience of James and his … More →
The Book of Acts of the Apostles contains many great speeches or sermons, numbering from seventeen to thirty-something, depending on your chosen method of reckoning. The Epistle for today’s Mass is taken, in part, from Saint Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin (Acts 7:2-53). As with all of the speeches of Acts, which the skeptics use against the inerrancy of the book, Saint Stephen’s speech is … More →