In September, we received a beautiful invitation from the Church in Brazil: to look more carefully at the Bible, the source of our faith.
The month of September was chosen in memory of St. Jerome (celebrated on the 30th), who translated the sacred texts from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. What happens is that, for many, parts of the Bible are so difficult to interpret that they seem to be still in Greek.
Illustrative photo: Daniel Mafra / cancaonova.com
It is not always easy to dive deeply into Sacred Scripture. So, in this training, we will know some tips to live your Bible month well.
Get to know São Jerônimo
It was at the end of the fourth century, when the list of inspired books had not even been conclusively defined in the Church (amazing!), That St. Jerome was entrusted by Pope Damasus to present Christianity with a Latin version of the Bible, which would be later called the Vulgate.
The work was hard! St. Jerome had to analyze many papyruses and parchments to see which one had the oldest text, since the originals were probably lost.
The translation was also – and still is – time-consuming. We, who research Sacred Scripture and have to translate the passages we study, sometimes take hours or days of research to translate a single verse!
Saint Jerome’s faithful dedication shows that he was a man in love with Sacred Scripture. He loved the Holy Land and made many trips there, including ending his earthly walk in Bethlehem.
Jerônimo is proof that the study, done with the prayer life, never takes away the faith; otherwise, they increase our love for God. So much so, that the Second Vatican Council, when it teaches about the Sacred Scriptures in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum , takes up a famous phrase from the saint, taken from a commentary by Isaiah: “To ignore the scriptures is to ignore Christ” (Comm. In Is. Prol. : PL 24, 17). That is why it is worth looking at the Word: to love it means to love Jesus himself, the true Word of God.
.: The origin of the Bible: New Testament
.: Why read the Bible?
.: St. Jerome and the Bible translations
.: What is the purpose of the Bible?
Why a month of the Bible?
The breath of the Spirit, in Vatican II, embraced a biblical movement, which brought new airs in the reading of the Word of God in the Church. Until then, the Bible was not even translated into other languages, the official version was only the Vulgate, in Latin.
As a good son of the Council, the month of the Bible was inspired by the Church of Brazil in 1971, in the archdiocese of Belo Horizonte (MG), supported by the Biblical Animation Service (of the Pauline sisters). Soon, it spread through Brazil and became official by CNBB.
Each year, the Episcopal Conference of Bishops of Brazil presents a biblical book to be meditated and deepened, but the choice of the text is not random. Check it out:
In 2016, we met Micah, the prophet of Morasti, who preaches the Word of God defending poor peasants, teaching about family life.
In 2017, the oldest testimony of a community, the First Letter to the Thessalonians, will illuminate community life.
In 2018, the book of Wisdom, with its maxims of life, teaching how to live well and in harmony, will present life in society.
For 2019, the theme of eternal life, illuminated by the First Letter of John, is reserved.
What can we do to make the month of the Bible a beautiful and fruitful experience? Well, we can offer some small tips that can help start a process of enchantment with the Word:
For personal growth
As in a good friendship, it is necessary to approach Sacred Scripture. Ask, get to know, take an interest, spend time with texts and dialogue with them.
A good friend is also one who “does nothing” with us. So, silence before the Word is necessary. Not the one to think about what I’m going to cook or to take a nap in, but what it means to taste the word, like tasting a chocolate from your mouth after eating.
Set aside a space in your home to be your “prayer corner” (a dresser, a space on the shelf). It doesn’t need much! Put on some sacred objects that lead you to God, so that every time you get there, your heart knows that it is time to pray with the Word.
Good music helps, preferably instrumental. And let it not be the Whatsapp notification! It is worth knowing and using “airplane mode”!
Read the text of 1 Thessalonians all over! If you finish it, a good way to choose the passages is to follow the daily liturgy.
Try, with the liturgical pastoral of your parish, to celebrate the Word, well prepared, full of charm. Talk to your community priest to invite a good speaker to study the book of 1 Thessalonians. And help him motivate the parish to participate.
Read the text in community and pray with your brothers on the way. When we are together, God is among us and speaks to us