Friday, December 14, 2007

Advent with Fr. Hecker: Day 11

Undoubtedly the Bible is a precious book. It is the most precious of all books. The Bible is "The Book." The reading of the Bible is the most salutary of all reading. We say to Catholic readers: Read the Bible! Read it with prayer, that you may be enlightened by the light of the Holy Spirit to understand what you read. Read it with piety, that you may have the dispositions which will enable you to profit by what you read. Read it with gratitude to God's Church, which has preserved it and placed it in your hands to be read and to be followed.

The Church and the Bible are, in their divine origin, one; they co-operate together for the same end, and are in their nature inseparable. But the written Word is relative or subsidiary to the Church, having for its aim to enlighten, to strengthen, and to perfect the faithful in that supernatural life of the Spirit in which they were begotten in the laver of regeneration, in the bosom of the holy Church. The purpose of the written Word is, therefore, to effect a more perfect realization of the Church, and to accelerate her true progress in the redemption and sanctification of the world. Hence the written Word presupposes the existence of the Church, is within and in the keeping of the Church and depends on her divine authority for its authentication and true interpretation. The Church is primary, and not enclosed in the written Word; but the end of the written Word is enclosed in that of the Church.
(1886, The Church and the Age.)

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