Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Second Sunday of Advent—9 December AD 2018
Ave Maria!


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Blessing of the Advent Wreath



    In today’s Epistle, Saint Paul wrote:

Brethren, what things-soever were written,
were written for our learning, that through patience and the comfort of the scriptures, we might have hope.

    In writing to Saint Timothy he says much the same:


All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove,
to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.

    Paul was using the Scriptures to mediate a dispute between the Jewish and the Gentile converts to the Catholic Faith—but the Bible is a treasure trove of teaching, far beyond discussions about keeping the Law of Moses.  The Bible is God’s way of telling us about Himself and what He expects of us—It is, so to speak, the way to look into the mind of God!  God inspired Moses and the prophets to write the Old Testament, with the intention of preparing them for the coming of Jesus Christ.  God inspired the Apostles and Evangelists to write the New Testament, so that peoples of all may know the things which Jesus revealed to them.  Jesus established His Church as the custodian of this Book and its authorized interpreter.[3]

    This process of custody and interpretation took some time to develop—which are the books of authentic Scripture, and what do they mean?  IWe have the list of Pope Saint Damasus in AD382, the Council of Hippo in 393 and the third Council of Carthage in 397, both confirmed by Rome, and a letter of Pope Saint Innocent I in 405.[6]  The Ecumenical Councils of Florence (1442) and Trent (1546) confirmed the same lists.

    We are encouraged to read these books by a long list of Popes, bishops, and theologians—yet, despite their large number, the underlying theme is simply that "if you don’t know the Scriptures, you don’t know God."[7]

    We are also encouraged by the indulgences granted for the pious reading of the Bible:

    50. Reading of Sacred Scripture (Sacrae Scripturae lectio) A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who with the veneration due the divine word make a spiritual reading from Sacred Scripture. A plenary indulgence is granted, if this reading is continued for at least one half an hour. [8]

    There are a lot of editions of the Bible “out there,” but since the Bible is the Catholic Church’s book, it is imperative that we read a Church approved translation—and one approved before the modernist infiltration of the Church.

    For most traditional Catholics, the “go to” edition is the Douay Rheims—made by Catholics in exile in France as the result of the Protestant takeover of England.  The original Douay was a very literal translation of the Latin Vulgate, somewhat hard for most English speakers to understand.  Later (c. 1750), a revision by Bishop Richard Challoner, Vicar Apostolic for London made the Bible’s English more idiomatic and provided copious notes.  The language is still a bit archaic.

    My favorite translation—perhaps because I grew up with it—is the U.S. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine edition.  Printed in 1941, the language is reverent but easily readable.  Unfortunately, it is out of print, but you may find it in a used book store, and the New Testament is on the Internet.[9]

    There is another very readable English text, was translated by the brilliant Monsignor Ronald A. Knox.  It is in print.[10]  It is on line in several places, sometimes side by side with the Latin and the Douay Rheims or the Greek.[11]

    We can go to the authoritative lists to know which books are biblical, and to the approved translations—but how do we know the authentic interpretation of these texts?  How do we read the various books, chapters, and verses, and integrate them into an accurate knowledge of God and of His expectations of us?  Remember that there is only one objective truth—and that objective truth cannot yield to the mere opinions of those who have read the Bible (let alone to those who have not!).

    The most convenient way to know God’s objective truth is to consult the Church’s authentic publications.  Once you know the authentic teaching of the Church, it will be easy to understand Her Bible.  Here in these United States, we have an authentic Catechism issued by one of the first Councils of Baltimore.[12]  Even better, we have the Catechism issued after the Council of Trent, proclaiming the Church’s teaching for all Her people.[13]  The encyclicals of the Catholic Popes are all online.  A good start with the encyclicals is in print: The Popes Against Modern Errors: 16 Papal Documents.[14]

    There are also reliable Catholic commentaries on the Bible.  I often use one called A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.[15]  It is used in conjunction with a separate Bible.  Another, The Heydock Bible contains the Douay Rheims text and a running commentary.[16]  The print is small, but manageable with a magnifying glass.

    Finally, it is important to set aside some time each day for Scripture reading—consistency is important.  You might make it part of your Advent regimen—but try not to stop when Christmas comes.

    Pope Saint Pius X, our patron saint against modernism, once said:

Nothing would please Us more than to see our beloved children form the habit of reading the Gospels
—not merely from time to time, but every day.

    Remember, if you don’t know the Scriptures, you don’t know God!


[15]   Thomas Nelson & Sons, Imprimatur: Westmonasterii, 1951


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