Who says that the Catholic Church does not read the Bible? It was the Catholic Church who put the books of the Bible together to begin with. They determined what books were inspired by the Holy Spirit. And then, when others came along such as the Protestants, they placed the Bible above Tradition.
Nowhere else in the universe can one see the use of Scripture more then in the liturgy and religious activities of the Catholic Church. The early Church used the Scriptures. The monks prayed the Psalms. Finally, the Office of the Liturgy of the Hours developed with Scripture. The Catholic Church not only excels in reading the Bible, it understands it and interprets it with an authority not granted anywhere else.
How fortunate for the Catholic who is practicing his faith and heritage! The readings of the Mass go through the Bible in its entirety in Cycles A, B, and C over a three-year period. The Liturgy of the Mass, with its Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, is full of Scripture. Every part of the Mass is power-packed with the Bible. Jesus placed the apostles in charge of the Church, with the pope and the bishops to head His divine institution on earth after he left. But he also sent the Holy Spirit. One cannot exercise any religious function in the Catholic Church without Scripture. And the Catholic Church is the chief interpreter of Scripture, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which was promised to her, that she would never be forsaken and left in the dark when it came to what the Scriptures mean.
Anyone can say that a certain passage means this or that, but the teaching magisterium, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit speaks first. Many other religions claim that man should find for himself what the Bible means. But there is always a primary meaning that cannot be interpreted except by the Catholic Church, and there are secondary meanings that each person has to apply to their own lives. But let no one claim to have the truth from “sola Scriptura” by his own interpretation.
The early Church Fathers made a career of dedicating their lives to the Scriptures, praying and reading them over and over. That was their life's work, just as much as someone who is an electrician or a carpenter. Nothing hindered them in their love of Scripture and the truth. They have given us much valuable insight into Scripture. Therefore, this legacy of Tradition of the Catholic Church, along with Scripture, is planted in rich, deep soil and nourished throughout the centuries with the aid of God.
Before any other religious ideas or Protestant institutions, the Catholic Church is God’s gift to man, laying the foundation of the “pillar of truth”. Sin is present in any age, but the four marks of the Catholic Church always remain. Even the pope is not above the truth, but is instead there to uphold the truth. The Catholic Church, once and for all established by the Canon of Scripture, what books would be in the Bible. What a shame that other religions have distorted the full truth by deleting books from the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is most wonderfully and beautifully the work of God, in that he guided man to write the truth.
The Bible is man’s salvation story, beginning with the creation of the world and mankind and then the story of God’s chosen people, their adherence to his precepts, as well as their disobedience and punishment. There were the prophets’ admonitions, the prayers of the people, and the wisdom literature that surpasses all times. That is the Old Testament. The New Testament is the culmination of Jesus coming into the world to complete the Old Covenant. The Savior was born of a woman, preserved from all time from even a taint of sin. The Immaculate Conception carrying the divine messenger, One Person of the Blessed Trinity to man to show man how to live.
But Jesus Christ did not forsake man when he ascended into heaven. He first of all laid the foundation of the “church”–that word first used before any later so-called "churches" would exist. Jesus Christ founded his Church in Scripture and handed it over to Peter and the apostles, the first pope and bishops. Only in time would man in his pride devise other beliefs contrary to this institution, which is divine and human at the same time.
The Catholic Church celebrates the Bible. The Bible is the most perfect piece of literature in the history of mankind. And yet, it is more than just literature. It is the Word of God. Whatever is in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New. It is a work of art! It is a treasure! Yet, we as Catholics do not worship the Bible. The Bible is what teaches us, with the assistance of the Catholic Church, how to worship the one and only God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One has only to look at the story of Abraham and how God revealed Himself to him, leading him out of a pagan land, and into a land he would give to him and his progeny. Isaac, his son was to be sacrificed on an altar but God spared him, and Abraham then knew that he loved God more than his only son. The father loved God more than his own son. So too, in the New Testament, God the Father loved mankind so much that he would sacrifice his only Son, Jesus Christ. Isaac is a type of Christ. Now, isn’t that some kind of ingenious literature!
Isaac goes on to have children too—Esau and Jacob. Jacob becomes the New Israel, with twelve sons, one of them being Joseph, who is eventually chosen to be leader of a pagan nation, Egypt. Christ founded the Catholic Church with Twelve Apostles. The Israelites were not obedient to God when they wanted to have kings like the pagans, but nevertheless, God permitted it. Saul, David, Solomon, and other kings ruled over the people. Eventually, Israel was split in two due to the sins of the people. The prophets warned the people. They would repent. And then, they would sin some more and exile occurred. Throughout time, it was seen that there would be a savior from the House of David. And of course, the Christmas story for all ages is imprinted in the lives of each and every one of us.
The Incarnate Christ is found in the Catholic Church with reception of the Eucharist. The Song of Songs in the Old Testament is not only about two married lovers, but it is a commentary on Christ and his Church. True love of the other partner seeks to know the other person and learn all about him or her, doing things together. Christ loves his Church as the bridegroom, whom we all should seek and desire in our innermost being to know intimately. This entails a love of the true Catholic Church.
Only by understanding the Catholic Church by study and practice will one know Christ. Therefore, a Catholic will want to remain within the “bark of Peter” and not be swayed by any human person or thing and fall away from the true faith and Bible based Catholic Church, loaded with the sweetness of not only Tradition but Scripture. Once one realizes this reality, no other option exists. Remember St. Jerome even tells us that “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
The Bible is a masterpiece put together by the Catholic Church! No one can change it in any way. Men have tried and they still attempt to read into Scripture their own way of thinking, one that will suit their own way of beliefs and living. But the Bible will continue to stand for the truth, just as the Catholic Church does, for she alone continues to have the correct interpretation of Scripture. As Catholics, we should be prejudiced in our praise of Christ’s Church and her originality!
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