Happy new year to all of you! Blessed Epiphany to those who have celebrated this wonderful feast already or who will be in the coming days.
I wanted to start the year 2011 with a new weekly feature. I am calling it "Mondays with Verbum Domini". The plan is to post each Monday a small selection from the recently release Post-Synodal Exhortation Verbum Domini by Pope Benedict. It is a fantastic document which really should be read by all Catholic Bible readers. It certainly is an important compliment to Divino Afflante Spiritu, Dei Verbum, and the Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.
To start off, I have selected the final paragraph from the introduction. It gives forth the background and structure for the entire document. In particular, the Holy Father's emphasis on all Catholics developing a "personal relationship with the sacred Scriptures" is a theme that he will come back to again and again throughout.
The Prologue of John’s Gospel as a guide
With this Apostolic Exhortation I would like the work of the Synod to have a real effect on the life of the Church: on our personal relationship with the sacred Scriptures, on their interpretation in the liturgy and catechesis, and in scientific research, so that the Bible may not be simply a word from the past, but a living and timely word. To accomplish this, I would like to present and develop the labours of the Synod by making constant reference to the Prologue of John’s Gospel (Jn 1:1-18), which makes known to us the basis of our life: the Word, who from the beginning is with God, who became flesh and who made his dwelling among us (cf. Jn 1:14). This is a magnificent text, one which offers a synthesis of the entire Christian faith. From his personal experience of having met and followed Christ, John, whom tradition identifies as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20), “came to a deep certainty: Jesus is the Wisdom of God incarnate, he is his eternal Word who became a mortal man”. May John, who “saw and believed” (cf. Jn 20:8) also help us to lean on the breast of Christ (cf. Jn 13:25), the source of the blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34) which are symbols of the Church’s sacraments. Following the example of the Apostle John and the other inspired authors, may we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to an ever greater love of the word of God.