Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meditating on the Bible

It is easy for you and your family to learn how to pray using the world’s greatest book
This one-page leaflet can be downloaded in Word Doc here.  

Why should we meditate on the Bible?

·         You will meet Jesus in person. “Jesus himself is present in his word” (Vat II, SC 7)
·         You will hear God speak. When you pray, you speak to God, when you read the Bible, God speaks to you, says St. Augustine. The Bible is God talking.
·         You will be nourished. Jesus’ word is the most nourishing food for the soul, says Pope Francis.
·         You will feel God’s love. The Bible is God’s love letter to us.
·         You will help change the world.  Pope Benedict XVI said that when Christians rediscover Bible meditation, there will be a “new springtime”.

Pope Francis taught: A Christian's first task is to listen to the word of God, to listen to Jesus, because he speaks to us and saves us with his word.

How do I meditate on the Bible?

It’s as simple as talking with a close friend!

Because Jesus told us: I have called you my friends. And the original word he used refers to his intimate circle!  

When you talk with a friend, there are three things that happen: (1) your friend talks first and you listen, (2) you talk and then he listens; (3) you agree to do something. Simple!

You can find these three elements in the steps for Prayerful Reading of Scripture or Lectio Divina (divine reading) outlined by Pope Benedict XVI:

(1) Reading (what the Word of God says) and Meditation (I listen to what God is telling me, e.g. a phrase that strikes me)

(2) Prayer (what I tell Jesus: thank you, sorry, help me, or use prayers in the Bible, etc.) and Contemplation (I look at Jesus with love and he looks at me with divine love)

(3) Action (I do something to love God above all and love my neighbor)

How can I make my meditation even more fruitful?

In line with many Catholic saints, St. Josemaria taught: My advice is that, in your prayer, you actually take part in the different scenes of the Gospel, as one more among the people present. First of all, imagine the scene or mystery you have chosen, to help you recollect your thoughts and meditate.
What is the best part of the Bible to pray about?  

Pope Benedict XVI taught there is a very deep union between the Bible and the Mass. (Prominent biblical scholars say that all the books were collected as one Bible to be read at Mass!) And so Pope Benedict said that the “correct approach to Scripture” is to "savor the deep meaning of the word of God" in the three Mass readings of the day throughout the liturgical year. (Verbum Domini 52-55) [You can find the daily Mass readings here (EWTN) or here (USCCB).]

The best of all is the Gospel. St. Therese of Lisieux said: Above all it’s the Gospels that occupy my mind when I’m at prayer. My poor soul has so many needs, and yet this is the one thing needful. I’m always finding fresh lights there, hidden and enthralling meanings.

The Catechism taught: Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. (CCC 2708)

If I don’t understand something in the Bible, what do I do?

Since the Bible is a book of the Catholic Church, it is the Church hierarchy, her saints and teachers who can best explain the Bible. These explanations can be found in:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: The USCCB website allows a search of biblical passages; Navarre Bible; New Testament Study Bible, by Dr. Scott Hahn; daily Bible diaries, the priest’s homilies at Holy Mass.

What attitudes are good to have while meditating on the Bible?

A loving focus on Jesus and his divine look of love for us. The important thing in prayer, said St. Teresa, is not to think much, but to love much. Also, Jesus said: the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is whoever humbles himself like a child.

How often should my family and I read the Bible?

Remember: love means working on the relationship and putting time. Pope Francis taught: “The Bible is not for putting in a shelf. It is for reading it often, everyday, either individually or in groups, husband and wife, parents and children; maybe at night, especially on Sundays.”

“I also suggest that you have a little Gospel  to carry in your pocket, in your purse, and when we have a little time, perhaps on the bus, when you are seated, you can also read during the day.”

This one-page leaflet can be downloaded in Word Doc here
By Dr. Raul Nidoy. Doctor of Theology. University of Navarre. In support of Pope Francis’ New Evangelization, please share generously

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Pope: his role, responsibility, mission and the best attitudes towards him

This one-page leaflet can be downloaded here.


1. What do we believe about the Pope?
We call the Pope “Father”, just as Catholics call their priest “Father”, because the Pope represents God as our Father, who loves us, who made us, and who sent his Son to die on the cross for us. The Pope represents God our Father in a special way, because like a good parent he guards the truth of the revelation which Jesus Christ handed on to his apostles (followers), the chief of whom was Simon whom Jesus called in his own language Cephas, meaning “Rock”. We believe that the present Pope is the successor of Peter, the Fisherman.
During his lifetime, Jesus made Peter the leader of his church on earth, to take over when Jesus died, rose again from the dead, and went to be with his Father in heaven. He said to Peter, after Simon had named Jesus as “the Son of the Living God”:

“I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  [Matthew 16:17-19] (CATEW FAQ)
2. What is the Pope’s responsibility?
As successor of St. Peter and head of the college of bishops, the Pope is the source and guarantor of the Church’s unity. He has the supreme pastoral authority and the final authority in doctrinal and disciplinary decisions.  
Jesus gave Peter a unique position of preeminence among the apostles. This made him the supreme authority in the early Church. Rome - the local Church that Peter led and the place of his martyrdom - became after his death the internal reference point of the young Church. Every Christian community had to agree with Rome; that was the standard for the true, complete, and unadulterated apostolic faith. …
Only in this capacity is the Pope "Christ's Vicar on earth." As the highest pastoral and doctrinal authority, he watches over the transmission of the true faith…Unity in matters of faith and morals, which is guaranteed by the Church's Magisterium, or teaching authority, with the Pope at the head, is one reason for the remarkable resilience and influence of the Catholic Church. (YOUCAT 141)
3. What is the biblical basis for calling the Pope “Vicar of Christ”?
The "keys of the kingdom” received by Peter from Jesus refers to the power of a prime minister of the King and chief teacher (Is 22:22) Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd, told Peter “Feed my sheep, feed my lambs.” (Jn 21:15-17)  It was upon Simon Peter alone that Jesus after his Resurrection bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all his fold. (Pastor aeternus)
4. What is the mission of the Catholic Church led by the Pope?
The mission of the Church is to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God begun by Jesus Christ among all peoples. (Compendium 150) 
The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. (CCC 775; italics in the original)
5. What are the best attitudes towards the Pope?
a. See Christ in the Pope. Love for the Roman Pontiff must be in us a delightful passion, for in him we see Christ.
b. Love, obedience, affection. Your deepest love, your greatest esteem, your most heartfelt veneration, your most complete obedience and your warmest affection have also to be shown towards the Vicar of Christ on earth, towards the Pope. We Catholics should consider that after God and the most Holy Virgin, our Mother, the Holy Father comes next in the hierarchy of love and authority.
c. Know his thought and live it. Faithfulness to the Pope includes a clear and definite duty: that of knowing his thought, which he tells us in Encyclicals or other documents. We have to do our part to help all Catholics pay attention to the teaching of the Holy Father, and bring their everyday behavior into line with it.
d. Pass on his words. Welcome the Pope’s words with a religious, humble, internal and effective acceptance. And pass them on.  (Replies a-d, from St. Josemaria)
By Dr. Raul Nidoy. Doctor of Theology. Permission to copy is granted. Please generously share with others. 

This one-page leaflet can be downloaded here.  

Please check out the other leaflets in this blog: