Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How the Word of God Transforms Us


Unknown writer/illuminator 11th or 12th c. Internet, Public Domain,
Jesus Master invites us to enter our room, close the door and pray in secret. This is a two-fold invitation (Mt. 6:6). First, Jesus encourages us to set apart a physical space for prayer. This may be a spare room, a walk-in closet, or a simple prayer corner. Second, every space you occupy becomes a sacred space be it the kitchen, the back porch, the laundry room while folding clothes, or when answering a child’s question. God sits where you sit and stands where you stand (Eph. 2:6; Psalm 139.2). For this reason we enhance our Christian home with icons, statues, sacred paintings, and candles. These sacred reminders become doorways to our inner-room of prayer.

The most important open “door” to our interior room is the Bible. Blessed James Alberione compares an open enthroned Bible in the home to the Eucharistic presence in Church.
Just as Jesus-Host, clothed in bread, comes to our hearts, so Jesus-Word clothed in paper comes into our home; let it be in the hands of every Christian. Holiness is and always consists in, living Jesus Christ as He is presented in the Gospel, the Way, Truth and Life. The entire Bible is a real presence of Christ…the Word assimilates us and we assimilate the Word. - Blessed James Alberione
The Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei echoes Alberione's thought:
The church has always venerated the divine scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord; since from the table of both the word of God and of the body of Christ, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life, especially in the sacred liturgy. Dei Verbum, 21
The early Christian theologian Origin (2nd century) observed that the Word of God transforms our daily life. Our every moment becomes the place where the Word speaks to us. We are called to rise to the pattern of Christ in all things and at all times. We find the pattern of Christ’s mind, will and heart in the Gospels and in the letters written by St. Paul and the first disciples. We need the Word to dwell within us, to take on flesh in us, so as to transfigure every reality with the Gospel. “The Bible, like the Blessed Sacrament, is a font of benediction and blessing,” says Sister Disciple Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang, “The divine Word is the Eucharistic Master. Our God dwells among us through the Word and the Eucharist.” During the day, allow yourself to be shaped by God’s Word. Rest in his Word so as to shape the world around you. “All the saints are the application and the incarnation of a verse of the Gospel,” writes Blessed James Alberione.

Sr. Elena Bosetti, a Pauline Pastorelle Sister, tells us that Alberione proposed a liturgical cult of the Bible, similar to that of the Eucharist.  He encouraged the faithful to express their adhesion by means of a formula following the baptismal promises: “We promise to read a part of your Gospel every day in our families, and to live according to your teachings." There is no doubt that for Fr. James Alberione the biblical apostolate was foremost in his thoughts and projects, she said. He was convinced that Paulines received a special call with regard to the Word, explaining that God is the First Editor. Alberione's dream was that every home would have the gospel enthroned in a prominent place and that each family would gather to read it.

In 1933, Alberione established the League for the daily reading of the Gospel. "This was a remarkable pastoral event at the time," says Sr. Elena, "when the proclamation of the Gospel in the liturgical area was done in Latin and the people knew more about devotions than listening to the Word." The Bible appeared suspect, observed Alberione, "it was almost the exclusive right of the non-Catholics" (Abundantes Divitiae, 139). As a true man of God in humility and silence he opened new pathways and widened horizons as he invited everyone to daily reading of sacred Scripture.

Gospel, Gospel, Gospel
Alberione found in the Bible all truth, the method and practice of teaching as way, and the fullness of life. In short he found Christ Way, Truth and Life. His passion to communicate Gospel, Gospel, Gospel encouraged everyone to pick up, read, pray on and meditate on the scriptures as light and compass for the journey of life. His approach to the Bible as Way, Truth and Life meant that it involves the whole person: mind, will and heart. The Bible, he tells Paulines, must permeate culture, art, ethics, cult, social and political life. The Bible can still lift up the dreams, hopes and history of the people of God.
"It is necessary to hold the Gospel in veneration...above all to live it in your mind, heart and works” Blessed Alberione (Abundantes Divitiae, 143).
Hold a Bible Enthronement Ceremony 

Plan a Pauline Bible Mission in your area.*



Sources:
Sr. Elena Bosetti Article
Blessed Alberione's Charismatic History of the Pauline Family


*For more information on holding a Bible Mission contact Sr. Margaret Charles Mkerry@paulinemedia.com

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Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP, celebrates 42 years of life and mission as a Daughter of St. Paul. With a Masters from Boston College School of Theology & Ministry, she gives presentations on the vocation and mission of the laity, media literacy, and evangelization. She directed the Association of Pauline Cooperators for 15 years and was creative editor of The Pauline Cooperator magazine. An author (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross), and Live Christ; Give Christ: Prayers for the New Evangelization. Sr. Margaret is working on two more books. You can reach her at mkerry@paulinemedia.com.



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