Pope's General Intention for September

General Intention: Word of God be better known. That the Word of God may be better known, accepted and lived as the one true source of freedom and joy.

There are some Christians who know the Bible backwards and yet are unhappy. They can give you chapter and verse and quote long passages by heart and yet their hearts are heavy. Why would such people who know, accept and try to live the Word of God, appear not to find it a 'true source of freedom and joy'? I suspect it is because they have become so fundamentalistically fixated on the printed text that they have forgotten that for the Christian, revelation came ultimatly not through paper and ink but through flesh and blood.

The book of the Bible is merely meant to give us access to that person who is the incarnate Word of God. It is Jesus Christ the living Word who offers 'freedom and joy', if we will but get to know him as opposed to just knowing about him. Reading the Bible is an important part of the process, but without welcoming him into our hearts and our lives through prayer, sacrament and others, it will remain just reading. The text is all well and fine but if we cannot recognize Jesus in his many guises, perhaps especially in the faces of the poor, then the text will remain an academic exercise.

However moving from the written to the living word can be daunting. Despite their undeniable influence on us, books are easier to control than a living person, especially if that living person happens to be the Son of God. We all know that once we let a person into our lives we have set off a chain of events that we can neither predict nor control. If we pray this intention seriously our lives could be in for some serious change!

This article appeared originally in The Southern Cross of South Africa.

Chris Chatteris, S.J.

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