As we approach Thanksgiving, we also come upon another occasion - National Bible Week. President Franklin Roosevelt first declared National Bible Week in 1941. At the time, the National Bible Association read passages on the air at NBC between radio broadcasts. Since then, every U.S. president has declared a National Bible Week. What is it about this book that has so fascinated people for millennia?
There's good reason that the Bible is so popular - it addresses every human situation, reflects every emotion and paints vivid pictures of all kinds of people - good and bad. But the most important reason why the Bible is so amazing is that is inspired by God, who speaks to us through its pages.
In reading any book, we hear the thoughts of another person, even if they have been dead for thousands of years. But in a special way when we pick up and read a Bible, because God is not limited by space or time, He speaks to us through the same words as those said to Moses, David and the prophets. Jesus speaks to us as he spoke to the apostles. Since God lives forever, the words He speaks connect with us forever. People of faith recognize this unique aspect of the Scriptures. While, we can take any book, read it and learn valuable information, the book's author is not aware of what we are doing. But when we pick up the Bible, God is
speaking to us - divine Heart to human heart.
We can see this in how the words address us with answers to today's problems. "The word of God is living and effective...able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
And, when God speaks to us through the Bible (also called Sacred Scripture), we are invited to respond: through prayer, through decisions and through action. Down through the ages the faithful have revered the Bible not only as a sacred book but also as a knowledgeable and treasured companion.
But we also believe that there are other tools in our lives of faith. The process by which the Bible was formed can help us understand what the Catholic Church means by another tool of faith: Sacred Tradition. Tradition (from the Latin tradere meaning "to hand on") includes the way that the Church has handed on and interpreted the Bible as well as creeds, liturgy and the consistent teachings of the Church through the ages. These can never contradict the Bible but are based on it and expand upon it.
Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (differentiated from human tradition by use of the capital "T") are what the Church understands as the deposit of divine revelation. Awareness of both Scripture and Tradition are critical to a mature life in the faith; important to remember because, without Tradition and the guidance of the Catholic Church, we would not even have Scripture as we know it! The Magisterium of the Church, guided by Scripture and Tradition, help to keep God's Word vibrant and relevant through the changing circumstances of today's world. We believe that the Church does through under the guidance of the Holy Spirit: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth" (John 16:12-13).
To show that God is at the center of their lives, many families enthrone the Bible, the Word of God, in a visible place in their homes. By placing the Sacred Scriptures in a prominent place decorated with flowers and art, and by gathering at this spot for daily prayer, families show that God is present and active through his Word. Enthroning the Bible at home is easy. Simply pick a place where the Bible can be honored, where it will be seen regularly, but apart from the noise and confusion of the family entertainment center. Place the Bible, opened to a favorite passage or the readings of the day (these can be found at www.usccb.org/bible), on a table or shelf. Decorate the area around the Bible with a cloth, flowers, and/or a candle—whatever makes sense.
Don't forget to bring your Bible - printed or electronic - to Mass with you this weekend for a blessing!
So great is my veneration for the Bible, that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hopes that they will prove useful citizens to their country and respectable members of society.
John Quincy Adams
Our FORMED Recommendation for the Week
Movie (1 hour, 27 minutes) -
The Fantasy Makers
J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and George MacDonald were the pioneers of the fantasy genre and their impact is unmistakable. Their works— exploring Middle-earth, Narnia, and other tales of redemption, sacrifice, and the battle of good and evil—have become best-selling books and blockbuster movies. Contemporary fantasy writers such as J.K. Rowling grew up inspired by their works. All three were deeply committed Christians, and their spiritual convictions permeate their writing. They engaged and challenged from the pulpit of imagination, speaking truth through fantasy.
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Sent by Fr. Ed Blanchett on Friday, November 9 at 3:00PM