Category: 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.”

Faith and Good Works

Whenever the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism are enumerated, one of the most common items on the list is “Faith and Good Works.” The role of good works in human salvation was one of the crucial issues of the Protestant … Continue reading

The Bible Only?

For the sake of brevity, clarity, and up-frontness, I will state the purpose of this article before the first period is typed: It is to show that the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura is a false doctrine of man which … Continue reading

The Seven Words

Saint Thomas Aquinas once was asked from what books he had garnered his extraordinary theo­logical wisdom. Pointing to a crucifix, the holy Doctor of the Church replied, “This is my book!” We see in this beautiful example how the wisdom … Continue reading

Is Bible Reading Safe?

We often hear the question asked, sometimes even by the well-instructed: “Is it safe to read the Bible?” The answer, of course, is: “Yes, certainly; the Church blesses and encourages the habitual reading of Holy Scripture by all the faithful.”

The Magnificat, Hymn of the Incarnation

(The following is a talk he gave at the 2007 Saint Benedict Center Conference.) THE MAGNIFICAT (Luke 1:46-55) Author: Mary, a transcendently beautiful Jewish maiden. Age: Fourteen. Home: Nazareth, in the province of Galilee, Palestine.Year of composition: Nine months before … Continue reading