The Bible plays a very important role in the life of a Catholic
Lima, 05/12/13 (Sodalit News – Peru). On December 3rd began a class titled “Introduction to the Sacred Scripture.” It is organized by Our Lady of the Cross parish, and taught by Ricardo Braz whom is a member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.
What is the Bible? What message does it give us? How should a Catholic interpret it? How does one pray with it? These are some of the questions that this class will attempt to answer in six different sessions. We spoke with Ricardo who explained the meaning and intention of the class to us in greater depth.
Sodalit News: Why should we have a class on the Bible?
Ricardo Braz: Because they are lacking in the Church, in our parishes, in the different movements, etc. The Sacred Scripture is the source of knowledge of the Lord Jesus, of the faith of the Church, and of our history as persons and as Christians. The lack of knowledge of the Bible that some Catholics have is astonishing. The result is ignorance of the elements of the faith, a lack of depth in prayer, which many times is reduced to sentimentalisms and activism, or confusion when they are questioned by other people who read the Bible outside the communion of the Catholic Church.
What role should the Sacred Scripture play in the life of a Catholic?
The Bible plays a very important role in the life of a Catholic. It isn’t the principal means by which we encounter Jesus, because the Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, is more important, as is fraternal charity and prayer. But not knowing the Bible is not knowing Christ. The Bible is important, as St. Paul says, “to teach, to reprove, to correct and to instruct in justice.” (2 Tim 3:16), for our spiritual life, for community celebrations, for catechesis and apostolate –so that our preaching isn’t empty or superficial. It is “like the soul of Sacred Theology” (DV 24). We can’t let our Bible simply sit on the bookshelf or serve merely as decoration in our living room.
Could it be said that this class teaches the Sodalit spirituality’s approach to the Bible?
We could talk about various things, starting with the importance of always “feeling with the Church” while reading and interpreting Scripture, following the criteria of interpretation given by “Dei Verbum”, n. 12. But this is an attitude that every Catholic should have. I think there is something particular about the approach recommended in the Sodalit spirituality when it comes to Sacred Scripture. Perhaps it is the attitude of being sons and daughters who let themselves be educated by Mary, who for us is exemplary in approaching the Bible. She was the attentive Virgin, who was not indifferent to the Living Word, but “…kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.” (Lk 2:19.51); the Virgin of Action, who after accepting the Word in her mind and heart, made concrete and radical decisions, and put what she had heard and interiorized into practice. For us Sodalits, Mary is a model of living faith in whom the Gospel doesn’t remain mere “words” but becomes “flesh”, becomes concrete in action.
What does the class consist of?
The classes are usually expository, but always with a text for the students so that they don’t get lost and also so that they have something to read at home. There is a lot of room for dialogue, time to respond to any questions that people might have. We use maps, images, tables and always have a Bible at hand, all of which comes together to illustrate everything very well. And we always pray at the beginning and at the end of class so that the Holy Spirit accompanies us.
Who is the class for?
It is for all, regardless of the prior formation they have received, though those who already have some sort of prior knowledge -above all history- tend to enjoy the class even more. But while it is very accessible and easy to understand we don’t sacrifice the depth of the biblical message and the necessary dogmatic orientation.
Ricardo Braz, Brazilian by birth, has been a member of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae since 1993 and is a theologian of the Pontifical and Civil College of Lima where he continues to study (Licenciatura). Braz works in the areas of instruction and formation in the Sodalitium as well as in the Christian Life Movement, where he dedicates himself to giving talks, directing Christian perseverance groups and supports family catechesis program of Nuestra Señora de la Reconciliación Parish.