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Reflections: Scripture (Misc.)

Bible with Crucifix

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Misc.

"The Bible is a stream wherein the elephant may swim and the lamb may wade." (Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, circa 595 A.D.)

"[Scriptures:] A letter from our fatherland." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"The Bible is a letter from Almighty God to His creatures" (St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Divine Scripture is the feast of wisdom, and the single books are the various dishes." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"Holy Writ by the manner of its speech transcends every science, because in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery." (Pope St. Gregory I, Doctor of the Church)

"A veil is spread between this world and the next. We, mortal men, range up and down in it, to and fro, and see nothing... In the Gospel this veil is not removed: it remains; but every now and then marvelous disclosures are made to us of what is behind it." (Cardinal Newman)

"Besides the above, wishing to repress that temerity, by which the words and sentences of sacred Scripture are turned and twisted to all sorts of profane uses, to wit, to things scurrilous, fabulous, vain, to flatteries, detractions, superstitions, impious and diabolical incantations, sorceries, and defamatory libels; (the Synod) commands and enjoins, for the doing away with this kind of irreverence and contempt, and that no one may hence forth dare in any way to apply the words of sacred Scripture to these and such like purposes; that all men of this description, profaners and violators of the word of God, be by the bishops restrained by the penalties of law, and others of their own appointment." (Council of Trent)

"And indeed, although [Paul] writes again to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians for their correction, nevertheless it is shown that there is one Church spread abroad through the whole world; for John, too, in the Apocalypse, though he writes to only seven Churches, yet speaks to all. Besides these, there is one to Philemon, and one to Tutus, and two to Timothy, in affection and love, but nevertheless regarded as holy in the Catholic Church, in the ordering of churchly discipline. There is also circulated one to the Laodiceans and other to the Alexandrians, forged under the name of Paul, in regard to the heresy of Marcion; and there are several others which cannot be received by the Church, for it is not suitable that gall be mixed with honey." [ante A.D. 200]

"Love the knowledge of the Scriptures and you will not love the errors of the flesh." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Look, then, to what Divine Scripture teaches us: that sin is not to lie hidden within us. Perhaps there are some who have an undigested mass of food shut up within them, or an abundance either of a humor or phlegm remaining in the stomach where it weighs upon them heavenly and to their discomfort. If they vomit it out, they experience relief. It is the same way with those who have sinned. If, indeed, they conceal their sin and keep it within them, they will suffer an internal urging, and may come close to being suffocated by the phlegm or humor of sin. If, however, a man in such a circumstance becomes his own accuser, as soon as he accuses himself and confesses, he vomits out his fault and put in order what was the whole cause of his sickness." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

"For if, indeed as you assert, some sin has risen among them, a judicial investigation ought to have been made according to the ecclesiastical canon, and not in this manner. Everyone should have written to us, in order that thus what was might be decided by all; for the bishops were the ones who suffered, and it was not the ordinary churches that were harassed, but which the apostles themselves governed in person. Yet why has nothing been written to us, especially regarding the Alexandrian church? Or do you not know that it is the custom to write to us first, and that here what is just is decided? Certainly if any suspicion of this nature did fall upon the bishop of that city, the fact should have been written to this church." (Pope St. Julius I, 341 A.D.)

"These are all your words, O Christ, eternal Truth, though they were not all spoken at one time nor written together in one place. And because they are yours and true, I must accept them with all faith and gratitude. They are yours and you have spoken them, they are mine also because you have spoken them for my salvation. Gladly I accept them from your lips that they may be the more deeply impressed in my heart." (Thomas a Kempis)

"Thus, since men had not the strength to discover the truth by pure reason and therefore we needed the authority of Holy Writ, I was coming to believe that You would certainly not have bestowed such eminent authority on those Scriptures throughout the world, unless it had been Your will that by them men should believe in You and in them seek You." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"What then do I ask of you? That each of you take in hand that part of the Gospels which is to be read in your presence on the first day of the week or even on the Sabbath; and before that day comes, sit down at home and read it through; consider often and carefully its content, and examine all its parts well, noting what is clear, what is confusing, what seems to assist the position of the adversaries but really does not. And, in a word, when you have sounded every point, then go to hear it read. From such zeal as this there will be no small benefit both to you and to me." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, circa 391 A.D.)

"For the Sacred Scriptures contain the word of God and since they are inspired really are the word of God; and so the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology." (Second Vatican Council)

"[Question:] Whether one may likewise doubt the inspiration and canonicity of the accounts given by Luke of the infancy of Christ [Luke 1-2]; or the apparition of the Angel strengthening Christ, and the sweat of blood [Luke 22:43 f.]; or whether it can at least be shown by solid reasons - as pleased the ancient heretics, and is agreeable also to some more recent critics - that the said accounts do not belong to the genuine Gospel of Luke? - Reply: In the negative to both parts." (Reply of the Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912 A.D.)

"The doctrine of the Apostles is the true faith...which is known to us through the Episcopal succession...which has reached even unto our age by the very fact that the Scriptures have been zealously guarded and fully interpreted" (Irenaeus, Contra Haereses)

"The Psalms recall to mind the truths revealed by God to the chosen people, which were at one time frightening and at another filled with wonderful tenderness; they keep repeating and fostering the hope of the promised Liberator which in ancient times was kept alive with song, either around the hearth or in the stately temple; they show forth in splendid light the prophesied glory of Jesus Christ: first, His supreme and eternal power, then His lowly coming to this terrestrial exile, His kingly dignity and priestly power and, finally, His beneficent labors, and the shedding of His blood for our redemption. In a similar way they express the joy, the bitterness, the hope and fear of our hearts and our desire of loving God and hoping in Him alone, and our mystic ascent to divine tabernacles. 'The psalm is...a blessing for the people, it is the praise of God, the tribute of the nation, the common language and acclamation of all, it is the voice of the Church, the harmonious confession of faith, signifying deep attachment to authority; it is the joy of freedom, the expression of happiness, an echo of bliss." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947)

"Begin with the Psalter, and teach your daughter how to chant the Psalms. You can read with her the Proverbs, by which she will know the moral precepts. 'This can be followed by Sirach a book so capable of inspiring her with a contempt of this world. You can then proceed to the Gospel - these, your daughter ought ever to have in hand. She can then read the Acts and Epistles of the apostles. These finished, she will gladly learn by heart the Prophets and historical books. Lastly, she can read the Canticle of Canticles, for she will have been prepared to understand this in a spiritual sense.'" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"The same holy mother church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason: ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. It was, however, pleasing to his wisdom and goodness to reveal himself and the eternal laws of his will to the human race by another, and that a supernatural, way. This is how the Apostle puts it: In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son. It is indeed thanks to this divine revelation, that those matters concerning God which are not of themselves beyond the scope of human reason, can, even in the present state of the human race, be known by everyone without difficulty, with firm certitude and with no intermingling of error. It is not because of this that one must hold revelation to be absolutely necessary; the reason is that God directed human beings to a supernatural end, that is a sharing in the good things of God that utterly surpasses the understanding of the human mind; indeed eye has not seen, neither has ear heard, nor has it come into our hearts to conceive what things God has prepared for those who love him. Now this supernatural revelation, according to the belief of the universal church, as declared by the sacred council of Trent, is contained in written books and unwritten traditions, which were received by the apostles from the lips of Christ himself, or came to the apostles by the dictation of the Holy Spirit, and were passed on as it were from hand to hand until they reached us. The complete books of the old and the new Testament with all their parts, as they are listed in the decree of the said council and as they are found in the old Latin Vulgate edition, are to be received as sacred and canonical. These books the church holds to be sacred and canonical not because she subsequently approved them by her authority after they had been composed by unaided human skill, nor simply because they contain revelation without error, but because, being written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and were as such committed to the Church." (First Vatican Council)

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