Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Opening of the Synod of the Word of God

I just had to share this reflection from Benedict's opening of the Synod of the Word of God, which I hope to follow as closely as time permits. This is beautiful and relevant
Even more, the Word of God is the foundation of everything, it is the true reality. And to be realistic, we must rely upon this reality. We must change our notion that matter, solid things, things we can touch, is the most solid, the most certain reality. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord speaks to us about the two possible foundations for building the house of one’s life: sand and rock. He who builds on sand only builds on visible and tangible things, on success, on career, on money. Apparently these are the true realities. But all this one day will vanish. We can see this now with the fall of two large banks: this money disappears, it is nothing. And thus all things, which seem to be the true realities we can count on, are only realities of a secondary order. Who builds his life on these realities, on matter, on success, on appearances, builds upon sand. Only the Word of God is the foundation of all reality, it is as stable as the heavens and more than the heavens, it is reality. Therefore, we must change our concept of realism. The realist is he who recognizes the Word of God, in this apparently weak reality, as the foundation of all things. Realist is he who builds his life on this foundation, which is permanent. Thus the first verses of the Psalm invite us to discover what reality is and how to find the foundation of our life, how to build life.
Yep, God's Word is firmer than banks.  And then he concludes:
Therefore, exegesis, the true reading of the Holy Scripture, is not only a literary phenomenon, not only reading a text. It is the movement of my existence. It is moving towards the Word of God in the human words. Only by conforming to the Mystery of God, to the Lord who is the Word, can we enter within the Word, can we truly find the Word of God in human words. Let us pray to the Lord that He may help us to look for the word, not only with our intellect but also with our entire existence.
I love the existential thrust of this statement. No simple historical-critical unpacking, as we know that Benedict has rejected when free-standing. Rather all the tools of HC along with the Christ-centered reading of the Fathers of the Church, and a subjective placing of oneself at the service of the Word, without which any accurate reading of scripture will be impossible. He tells us to do here what he did in his book on Jesus. I personally enjoy the style. 

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

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