Publish date 25-05-2023
The Second Vatican Council is of capital wealth to be able to live our faith as adult Christians. It has opened many doors that give access to a treasure that we can draw on with both hands and with great advantage. Today I want to take a look at the Dogmatic Constitution on divine revelation, dictated by its first Latin words (the language in which the conciliar documents were written) Dei Verbum, the Word of God. We must not confuse this document, considered one of the most important in the Council, if not the most important, with a commentary on Sacred Scripture or an introduction to it. This document, which has revolutionized the life of Christians by touching the liturgy, personal prayer, theology and therefore the way of believing, the knowledge of God and therefore preaching, and also everyday Christian life, is not very long but it is very dense.
The letter to the Hebrews begins with these words: "God, having spoken many times and in many ways in ancient times to the fathers through the prophets, has spoken to us through his Son in these last days" (Heb 1:1); this prompts us to reflect and accept what God over the centuries, almost a millennium before Christ and a hundred years later, wanted to reveal to us about himself, to be known and to form a friendship with men that he has always wanted to live since since the creation of man. The revelation, which prepares us not only for the scholastic knowledge of God, but for a friendship and a face to face relationship with the one who created and redeemed us and who, with his Spirit, continues to live with us and to lead us on the intricate paths of life, must be accepted by and in the Church. The Lord delivered it to her through his Holy Spirit, first through the prophets of Israel and the wise men of the People of God, then through the apostles, evangelists and other authors of the New Testament. This immense richness that allows us to freely access divine intimacy, with all the human means that can be put at the service of this journey, has now been transmitted to us for two thousand years by the Pastors of the Church who, inspired by the Spirit, have recognized as authentic Word of God the texts that we call today as such, and by those who with their prayer, their science and pastoral charity have been able to transmit and teach the Christian people the content of that Word.
Believers welcome the Word addressed to them, and, recognizing that God the Creator and Savior is addressed to them, they respond, through liturgical prayer and song, personal prayer, which often takes the form of a silent reading with a cordial response , sometimes even by memorizing the Word, and finally in a life conduct that in everything tries to correspond to the teaching and example that the ancient men of God have given us.
The Council wanted to revive this "loving obedience" to the Word by placing it in the hands of the believers of the Latin Church, who for centuries no longer had easy direct access to it, enclosed in a little or no longer known language.
This allowed for a direct reading, illuminated by a liturgy more linked to Scripture and a sermon that explained its teaching and made one savor the beauty and depth of this great gift.
I will return to this very important document from which Catholic Christians today have received a great renewal of faith and a light for the understanding of the mystery of God's love. Things that seem obvious to us today, 60 years ago they were not, although they were already eagerly awaited and prepared by many pastors and theologians, even at the risk of sanctions, which they bore in a holy way, and in this way made the soil of the Church fertile for a "New Spring".
NP February 2023