The Heart of the Matter

Verbum Domini: The Word of God


On 11th November 2010, The Vatican published the apostolic exhortation of Pope Benedict entitled “The Word of the Lord”. This grew out of the synod of bishops convened specifically to discuss the Scriptures and we in the Parish hope to develop our understanding of Sacred Scripture as a living and effective communication from God. There are five sections in this exhortation - The Introduction; The Word of God; The Word in the Church; The Word in the World; The Conclusion.


The text of the exhortation moves from the revelation of God's Word as a personal divine communication through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the Word's reception in the life of the Church especially in our Parish Liturgical life and this will be our focus not only at Sunday masses but also at our daily masses. In our Parish we have drawn our own emphases from those which the Pope has set out in the exhortation:

We should study the Bible as a way of preparing for the Liturgy, especially mass on Sunday as each set of Sunday readings contains a treasure of biblical texts for reflection and personal prayer. We hope that every family in our parish will have a Bible at home and will read it regularly. We wish to offer our readers good training and supervision in their proclaiming the Scriptures and we look forward to the day when women will be admitted to the ministry of lectors.  


We should use the Scriptures to encourage lectio divina - the ancient tradition of prayerfully meditating on the scriptures. The Pope believes that more prayerful and spiritual reading of scripture will improve our appreciation of the Bible and our participation in the Church's liturgical life. The classic monastic method of lectio divina is fivefold: careful reading of the text followed by reflection on the text followed by prayer using the text followed by contemplation on how the Spirit has moved the reader followed by a resolve to put the the Word into action.


We should be careful to guard against a fundamentalist biblical interpretation which the Pope regards as a betrayal of both the literal and spiritual sense of the scripture texts.


We should absorb one of the many beautiful images employed in the exhortation - that of Mary the Mother of God - who is a perfect example of how we should approach the Word of God. Mary is the docile and obedient receiver of God's Word as given by her in the beautiful Magnificat Prayer in the Nativity Narrative of Luke's Gospel. Mary is shown to be familiar with the Word of God and it expresses wonderfully for us her humble willingness to accept that mysterious Word in her own life and put it into action - this is our  ideal in trying to bring the Scripture as fully as possible into our weekly and daily Parish Eucharist.