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SYNOD OF BISHOPS XII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS VATICAN CITY 2008 PART II CHAPTER.

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Presentation on theme: "SYNOD OF BISHOPS XII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS VATICAN CITY 2008 PART II CHAPTER."— Presentation transcript:

1 SYNOD OF BISHOPS XII ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY THE WORD OF GOD IN THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS VATICAN CITY 2008 PART II CHAPTER V The Word of God in the many services of the Church "The Bread of Life from the Table of both God's Word and Christ's Body (DV 21)

2 CHAPTER V Ministry of the Word 32. "Like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture" (DV 21). This specific obligation, recalled at the Second Vatican Council, requires real effort.

3 CHAPTER V Ministry of the Word 32. The particular Churches are undertaking programs of service to the Word of God in various settings and situations. A prime place is being given to experiencing the Word of God in the Eucharistic liturgy and the sacraments. Responses recommend Lectio Divina as an ideal, that is, the prayerful reading of the Word of God, individually or in groups. Catechesis should serve as an introduction to Sacred Scripture and its programs and catechisms themselves, not to mention preaching and popular piety, should be grounded in the Bible.

4 CHAPTER V Ministry of the Word 32. Furthermore, a biblical apostolate needs to create an encounter with the Word of God through forming and guiding Bible groups in such a way as to ensure that the Word, the Bread of Life, also becomes the material bread of assistance to the poor and suffering. Study and meetings, especially in inter-religious and intercultural exchanges, urgently need to give an appreciable place to the Word of God in relation to culture and the human spirit.

5 CHAPTER V Ministry of the Word 32. To realize these objectives requires an attentive faith, an apostolic zeal and a creative, well-done, ongoing pastoral program, geared at promoting the spirit of communion. The need for a pastoral program continually based on the Bible has never been greater.

6 CHAPTER V Ministry of the Word 32. From the perspective of unity and interaction, the dynamic character of the Word of Gods encounter with the person needs to be recognized and fully assisted, a dynamism which underlies all the Churchs pastoral activity. By necessity, the Word proclaimed and heard becomes the Word celebrated in the Liturgy and sacraments, so as to inspire a life lived according to the Word in communion, charity and mission (Cf. CONGREGATIO PRO CLERICIS, Directorium Generale pro Catehesi ( ), pp : Enchiridion Vaticanum 16, EDB, Bologna 1999, pp ).

7 CHAPTER V An Experience in Liturgy and Prayer 33. Particular Churches have many experiences in common. For a majority of Christians the world over, the celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays is the sole encounter with the Word of God. The People of God have a growing consciousness of the importance of liturgies of the Word of God, prompted in part by the reference and revision of them in the new Lectionary. In this regard, some responses mention that they want to see a better thematic coordination of the three readings as well as a greater fidelity in translations to the original texts.

8 CHAPTER V An Experience in Liturgy and Prayer 33. Homilies could clearly stand improvement. In certain cases, the Liturgy of the Word is serving as a form of Lectio Divina. Work remains in encouraging the lay faithfuls participation in praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

9 CHAPTER V An Experience in Liturgy and Prayer 33. At the same time, some indicate that the People of God have never really been introduced to a theology of the Word of God in the liturgy. Some still live it passively, unaware of its sacramental character and unmindful of the riches contained in the Introductions of the liturgical books, sometimes because bishops lack interest.

10 CHAPTER V An Experience in Liturgy and Prayer 33. At the same time, some indicate that the many signs and gestures proper to the Liturgy of the Word are oftentimes an external formality without interior understanding. On occasion, the relation of the Word of God to the sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of Penance, appears to be given little value.

11 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church 34. Persons in every area of Church life need a better understanding of the liturgy as the privileged place of the Word of God, where the Church is built-up. Consequently, some fundamental points are important to bear in mind.

12 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church The Bible is the book of a people and for a people, received as an inheritance and a testament given to readers to make present in its life the history of salvation therein recorded in writing. Therefore, a mutual, life-giving relationship exists between the People and the book. The Bible becomes alive in the Peoples reading it. The People cannot exist without the Book, because it contains its reason for existence, its calling and its very identity.

13 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church The mutual relationship between the People and Sacred Scripture is celebrated in the liturgical assembly, which is the place where the work of receiving the Bible takes place. In this regard, the discourse of Jesus in the Synagogue at Nazareth (cf. Lk 4:16-21) takes on a particular significance. What took place then also takes place each time the Word of God is proclaimed in the liturgy.

14 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church The proclamation of the Word of God in the Scriptures results from the action of the Spirit. The power which made the Word into a book, now, in the liturgy, transforms the book into the Word. Indeed, the liturgical tradition in Alexandria has a double epiclesis, namely, an invocation of the Spirit before the proclamation of the readings and a second after the homily (Cf. Euchologion Serapionis, 19-20, ed. JOHNSON, M.E., The Prayers of Serapion of Thmuis (Orientalia Christiana Analecta 249), Roma 1995, pp ).

15 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church The Spirit guides the presider in the prophetic task of understanding, proclaiming and adequately explaining the Word of God to the assembly and, in a parallel way, invoking a just and worthy reception of the Word by the gathered community.

16 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church Through the Holy Spirit, the liturgical assembly hears Christ "himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church" (SC 7) and receives the covenant, which God renews with his People. Thus, Scripture and the liturgy converge in the single purpose of bringing the People into dialogue with the Lord. The Word which goes forth from the mouth of God and is attested to in the Scriptures returns to God in the form of the prayerful response of the People (cf. Is 55:10-11).

17 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church During liturgical celebrations, the proclamation of the Word in the Scriptures is a deeply dynamic dialogue, a dialogue which reaches its highest degree of dynamism in the Eucharistic assembly. Throughout the history of the People of God, both in biblical and post- biblical times, the Bible has been, from the very beginning, the book providing assistance in Gods relationship with his People, namely, the book of worship and prayer. Indeed, the Liturgy of the Word "is not so much a time for meditation and catechesis as a dialogue between God and his People, a dialogue in which the wonders of salvation are proclaimed and the demands of the Covenant are continually restated" (IOANNES PAULUS II, Epist. Apost. Dies Domini ( ), 41: AAS 90 (1998) ).Dies Domini

18 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church An integral part of the Words relation to the liturgical action is praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Though deeply important for the entire Church, the Liturgy of the Hours has particular significance in the consecrated life. The Liturgy of the Hours is particularly adapt in a formation to prayer, primarily because the Psalms best illustrate the divine-human character of Sacred Scripture. The Psalms are the school of prayer, where the person who sings or recites them learns to hear, interiorize and interpret the Word of God.

19 CHAPTER V The Theological-Pastoral Foundation: Word, Spirit, Liturgy and Church In addition to receiving the Word of God in personal and communal prayer, all Christians have the unavoidable responsibility to receive it in liturgical prayer. This requires a new outlook towards Sacred Scripture, one which sees the Bible more than a written book, but a proclamation of and testimony to the Person of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. According to a previously cited passage from the Second Vatican Council, "Christ is present in his Word, since it is he himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the Church" (SC 7). Consequently, "Sacred Scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy" (SC 24).

20 CHAPTER V The Word of God and the Eucharist 35. Oftentimes, the Liturgy of the Word is not sufficiently prepared or is not properly linked to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. An intimate bond exists between the Word and the Eucharist as seen in scriptural testimony (cf. Jn 6), confirmed by the Fathers of the Church and reasserted by the Second Vatican Council (cf. SC 48, 51, 56; DV 21, 26; AG 6, 15; PO 18; PC 6).

21 35. In this regard, the Churchs great Tradition has many significant expressions which can serve as examples: "Corpus Christi intelligitur etiam Scriptura Dei" ("The Divine Scriptures are also considered the Body of Christ") (WALTRAMUS, De Unitate Ecclesiae Conservanda: 13, ed. W. Schwenkenbecher, Hannover 1883, p. 33: "Dominus enim Iesus Christus ipse est, quod praedicat Verbum Dei, ideoque Corpus Christi intelligitur etiam Evangelium Dei, doctrina Dei, Scriptura Dei."), and "Ego Corpus Iesu Evangelium puto" ("I consider the Gospel to be the Body of Christ") (ORIGENES, In Ps. 147: CCL 78, 337.).

22 CHAPTER V The Word of God and the Eucharist 35. The increasing consciousness of Christs presence in the Word is proving beneficial in the immediate preparation for the celebration of the Eucharist as well as in the action of uniting oneself with the Lord in the celebration of the Word. Consequently, this Synod, while always maintaining the priority of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, looks to reflect in a special manner on the relation of the Word of God to the Eucharist (Cf. BENEDICTUS XVI, Adhort Apost. Post-Syn. Sacramentum caritatis ( ), 44-46: AAS 99 (2007) ). Sacramentum caritatis

23 CHAPTER V The Word of God and the Eucharist 35. St. Jerome observes in the matter: "The Lords flesh is real food and his blood real drink; this is our true good in this present life: to nourish ourselves with his flesh and to drink his blood in not only the Eucharist but also the reading of Sacred Scripture. In fact, the Word of God, drawn from the knowledge of the Scriptures, is real food and real drink" (S. Hieronymus, Commentarius in Ecclesiasten, 313: CCL 72, 278).

24 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments 36. The Word must be lived in the economy of the Sacraments, being seen as not only the communication of truth, teachings and moral precepts, but the reception of power and grace. Such an understanding not only creates an encounter for the person who hears in faith, but makes it a real celebration of the covenant.

25 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments 36. Some responses call for consideration to equally be given to various forms of encountering the Word in the liturgical action, the sacraments, the celebration of the liturgical year, the Liturgy of the Hours and sacramentals. Particular attention needs to be given to the Liturgy of the Word in the celebration of the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. A renewed consciousness is required in proclaiming the Word during various celebrations, particularly the individual celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. An appreciation of the Word of God is also called for in the many forms of preaching and popular piety.

26 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. The Eucharist, specifically the Sunday Eucharist, deserves primary attention in pastoral activity, because "the table of the Word and the Bread of Life" are intimately bound together (DV 21). The Eucharist is "the privileged place where communion is ceaselessly proclaimed and nurtured" (IOANNES PAULUS II, Litt. Apost. Novo Millennio Ineunte ( ), 36: AAS 93 (2001) 291.).

27 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. Since Sunday Mass is the sole moment of sacramental encounter with the Lord for most Christians, zealously fostering authentic, joyous Eucharistic Liturgies becomes both a task and a gift. The principal aim of proclamation and the Christian life in general is the Eucharist, celebrated in a manner which shows the intimate union of Word, sacrifice and communion.

28 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. Care is needed in ensuring that the various parts of the Liturgy of the Word proceed in an harmonic way (the proclamation of the readings, the homily, the profession of faith and the prayer of the faithful), mindful of their intimate connection with the Eucharistic liturgy (Cf. BENEDICTUS XVI, Adhort Apost. Post-Syn. Sacramentum caritatis ( ), 44-48: AAS 99 (2007) ). The One spoken of in the texts makes himself present in the total sacrifice of himself to the Father.

29 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. Introductions to liturgical books, which explain elements in the liturgy, need to be given greater value, especially the Prænotanda of the Roman Missal, the Anaphore of the Eastern Churches, the Ordo Lectionum Missæ, the Lectionaries, and the Divine Office, all of which should be included in the liturgical formation of Pastors and the faithful, together with the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council.

30 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. Less division of passages and greater fidelity to original texts are needed in translation work. Since rite and word are to be intimately connected in the liturgy (cf. SC 35), encountering the Word of God comes about through the specific character of the signs at play in the liturgical celebration, for example, the positioning of the ambo, the care of the liturgical books, a proper style of reading, and the procession and incensation of the Gospel.

31 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. In the Liturgy of the Word, maximum attention should be given to a clear, understandable proclamation of the texts and a homily based on the Word (Cf. ibidem, 46; AAS 99 (2007) 141.). This requires competent, well- prepared readers who, for this purpose, need to be formed in schools, even ones which might be established by the diocese. At the same time, the Word of God might be better understood, if the lector made a brief introduction on the meaning of the reading to be proclaimed.

32 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. In the homily, preachers need to make a greater effort to be faithful to the biblical text and mindful of the condition of the faithful, providing them assistance in interpreting the events of their personal lives and historical happenings in the light of faith. This biblical aspect can opportunely be supplemented with the basics of theology and morality.

33 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. Consequently, a proper formation of future ministers is indispensable. Some recommend the blending of hymns and music to the communication of the Word of God and a greater appreciation of words and silence. Outside of the liturgy, various forms of dramatization of the Word of God are possible in writings, figures and also noble artistic works, such as, religious shows.

34 CHAPTER V The Word and the Economy of the Sacraments Pastoral Implications 37. Some want religious communities, especially monastic ones, to assist parish communities in discovering a taste for the Word of God in liturgical celebrations. Since people are displaying an interest in participating in the Liturgy of the Hours, consideration needs to be given today on how to make this excellent means of communicating the Word of God more accessible to the faithful and a greater part of pastoral life.


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