Quotes From The Synod of Bishops on the Word of God
In the Life and Mission of the Church
The Word of God is to be the primary source of inspiration in the spiritual life of the Church communities in its many practices, such as spiritual exercises, retreats, devotions and acts of piety. In this matter, an important goal (and criterion of authenticity) of this practice is to make an individual grow in a personal application of his reading of the Word for its sage teaching, its ability to help the Christian discern the realities of life and the reasons for hope contained therein (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), which are fundamental to Christian witness and the pursuit of holiness.
The Church’s primary task is to assist the faithful in understanding how to encounter the Word of God under the guidance of the Spirit. In a particular way, she is to teach how this process takes place in the spiritual reading of the Bible; how the Bible, Tradition and the Magisterium are intrinsically joined by the Spirit, and what is required of the believer to be guided by the Holy Spirit received in Baptism and the other sacraments.
Above all, the Church should encourage the biblical practice traditionally called lectio divina with its four stages (lectio, meditatio, oratio and contemplatio). This practice was characteristic of the early days of the Church and was present throughout her history. The tradition was originally reserved to monasteries, but today the Spirit, through the Church’s Magisterium, is inspiring the practise among the clergy, parish communities, ecclesial movements, families and the young.
St. Jerome observes: “The Lord’s flesh is real food and his blood real drink; this is our true good in this present life: to nourish ourselves with his flesh and to drink his blood in not only the Eucharist but also the reading of Sacred Scripture. In fact, the Word of God, drawn from the knowledge of the Scriptures, is real food and real drink.”
The supreme vocation of the Christian is to encounter, pray and live the Word.
"Were our hearts not buring within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32)
"Deep reflection on the Scripture, not just reading or skimming through or even exegeting a text, can lead to a transforming personal encounter with Christ that catalyzes spiritual growth. It is this relationship of knowing God and being known by him that changes a person from the inside out."
--Katherine Johnson, Lectio Divina as a Catalyst for Spiritual Growth (Doctoral Research Project)
"Spiritual transformation comes from partnering with the Trinity for change. We bring our ache for change, our longing…our desperation…. Then we keep company with Jesus by making space for him through a spiritual discipline. Our part is to offer ourselves lovingly and obediently to God. God then works within us doing what he alone can do."
--Adele Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 19.