The Catholic Church is a Bible Church. Does that sound weird to you? Okay, so it isn’t how we normally talk about the Catholic faith, and I wonder why not? Here are just three reasons why I think this is true.
Reason # 3: Bible Studies. For years I attended a very well known non-denominational Bible study. I was intimidated at first with the women who could recite chapter and verse of key faith issues. But after a while I realized that most of them knew less than I thought, and what we learned, we learned together. What’s more, as the study progressed I became more confident in what I already knew, because I knew our faith stories and learned of our salvation history long ago through the Catholic Church . I’m grateful for my experience with that particular study, but the one I attended within my own parish community caused my knowledge and faith to grow too. Catholic churches do offer studies and I’m very grateful for The Cornerstone Scripture Study. It is educational and also builds community within your local church. Visit http://www.thecornerstonescripturestudy.org. The Little Rock Scripture Study is another option. https://www.littlerockscripture.org/
Reason #2: Scripture is proclaimed at each and every Mass. Passages from the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament and Gospel are read and “broken open” for us in the homily. Maybe we take for granted what we hear so often, but really, what we have is priceless. Scott Hahn is now an author and professor of theology and scripture, but when he was a Protestant minister he experienced his first Mass. By his own admission, he believed that the Mass was the “ultimate sacrilege” and he attended as an observer only. In The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, Hahn describes his life changing experience.
“As the Mass moved on, however, something hit me. My Bible wasn’t just beside me. It was before me-in the words of the Mass! One line was from Isaiah, another from the Psalms, another from Paul. The experience was overwhelming. I wanted to stop everything and shout, “Hey, can I explain what’s happening from Scripture? This is great!” Still, I maintained my observer status. I remained on the sidelines until I heard the priest pronounce the words of consecration: “This is My body…This is the cup of my blood.”
“In less than a minute the phrase ‘Lamb of God’ had rung out four times. From long years of studying the Bible, I immediately knew where I was. I was in the Book of Revelation, where Jesus is called the Lamb no less than twenty-eight times.”
As a result of his knowledge of the Bible and his experience that day, Scott Hahn became a Catholic Theologian. Can you imagine turning your life and career upside down like that? His story reminds me NOT to take our amazing Catholic faith for granted.
Reason # 1: The Bible was inspired, written, compiled and defended in the earliest days of the church. This was when the church was one body, before the Reformation and the divisions of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the countless factions that separate us today. This early church was the catholic, or universal, church. The Catholic Church of today is this same historic church and for the gift of the Bible it gave us I am ultimately grateful.
In hope, Peggy