Co-Workers of the Truth 8/23

Benedict XVIThe road that lead us forward, the road to progress, must at the same time be a road that leads us backward, back to fundamentals, a road that leads us inward and upward. Christ is the center; to look upon him is our first and noblest task, or, as the first letter of Clement, one of the earliest successors of Saint Peter, expresses it: “Let us keep our gaze fixed immovably on the saving Blood of Jesus Christ.” But how can this be? How are we to receive Christ as the center, Christ as the answer, as the Bread that is life, as the living Word?

The letter interprets this simple, profound, and fundamental concept, which was likewise the basic concept of Vatican Council II, in the words: “Let us live by every word that comes from your mouth.” Let us live by the words that interpret the Word and that are the word from him and in him. This is a reference to Holy Scripture – a reminder that in Holy Scripture we encounter God’s living Word, which is always the source from which we receive the answer anew, from which life comes anew into this world; a reminder that from Scripture we must always find our way back to our own hearts, to ourselves and to God, and so build the world.

After Christocentrism, the second concrete concern of the Council was to establish Holy Scripture as the center of Christian faith. Not to know Scripture is not to know Jesus, Saint Jerome tells us. And we know Christ only if we are conversant with the words that are the words of God. Scripture tells us how such a oneness with Christ, such a penetration to the center, is to be achieved in practice. It tells us that faith is not something remote from us, something that would require us to engage in great research, or perhaps, to cross an ocean or make an expedition into the depths of the earth. It speaks to us of what is near. The word is in your heart. You have only to enter into your own heart and you will find it there.

Jesus is Lord, Jesus is risen. In these words Paul identifies the two confessional formulas of the Church, which form the heart of our confession of faith. He says: When you enter into your heart, you enter into the place where Jesus is, and vice versa you enter into your heart only when you do not simply hide yourself in yourself but co-believe with the faith of the living Church. In co-believing with the faith of the living Church, in letting yourself be carried along by it, even though many individual teachings continue to be obscure, you are hidden in the communality of the faith and so remain faithful to it, communicate with it. We read Holy Scripture as we should, from its center, from its inner unity, only when we read it in harmony with the faith of the Church.

From: L’Osservatore Romano 13, no.8 (1983), p.12

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