Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
November 2, 2009
Benedict calls Catholics to meditate on God's word
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict invited Catholics to listen more prayerfully to the Gospel readings and to set aside time every day to meditate on the word of God.
"A purely theoretical, profane reading is not enough in order to reach the heart of sacred Scripture. One must read it in the spirit in which it was written and created," he said during his general audience Oct. 28.
Two basic approaches to theology emerged during the 12th century: monastic and scholastic theology, the pope said.
"Monastic theology grew out of the prayerful contemplation of the Scriptures and the texts of the Church fathers, stressing their interior unity and spiritual meaning centred on the mystery of Christ," he said.
For example, he said the practice of lectio divina, a form of prayerful meditation on the word of God, was a fundamental part of the life of monastic theologians.
For the monks, "the simple reading of sacred texts was not enough for perceiving the deep sense, inner unity and transcendent message" present in the texts, he said.
This form of theology was characterized by meditation, prayer and songs of praise and led to "a sincere conversion," the pope said.
The spiritual heritage of these early monastic theologians represents "an invitation also for us to nourish our existence with the word of God," he said.
One way to do this, he said, is by "listening more attentively to the Gospel readings, especially during Sunday Mass."
"It's important to set aside a certain amount of time every day for a meditation on the Bible so that the word of God becomes a lamp that lights our daily journey," he added.
But one must be motivated by a desire to know and love God, "who comes to meet us through his word," Pope Benedict said.
Unlike monastic theology, "scholastic theology sought to clarify the understanding of the faith by studying the sources and the use of logic," he said.
The teacher, representing authority, and the student, representing inquiry, engaged in a debate where the aim was to arrive at a deeper understanding of God's word through both authority and reason, he said.
Applying reason to one's approach to Sacred Scripture "creates a faith that is deep, more personal and, therefore, also more concrete in a person's life," he said.
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