Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Word of God is Intimately a Part of Human History and Guides it

8. Persons in some cultures think that everything comes from them and as a result consider themselves masters of their own destiny. This attitude makes it difficult for them to accept that someone might come into the world to enter into dialogue and provide the meaning of existence. Such a mentality can also be seen in often incorrect conceptions of God and various forms of doubt. God, however, who cannot silence the truth of his Word, reassures the individual that his Word is amicable and spoken for a person’s good. While always respecting a person’s freedom, the Word of God, nonetheless, requires a faithful listening to and meditating on its content. Truly, the Word of God “must appear to each individual as an opening to his problems, with a response to his questions, a widening of his values and together meet his aspirations.”15 Again, we understand from Dei Verbum that the Word of God precedes every human word and initiative. God pronounces his Word to open a person to unexpected horizons of truth and meaning as stated in Genesis 1; John 1:1ff.; Hebrews 1:1; Romans 1:19-20; Galatians 4:4; and Colossians 1:15-17. St. Gregory the Great maintains: “Scripture comes down to our level in using our poor words, so as to allow us gradually to climb, step-by-step, from what is seen near-at-hand to things sublime.”16

From the start, God wanted “to make known the way leading to eternal salvation.”17 Scripture reveals how God’s Almighty Word began a dynamic dialogue with humanity from its very beginning. Oftentimes, dialogue was often dramatic, but eventually it prevailed. In the history of God’s Chosen People, Israel, the supreme Revelation took place in Jesus Christ, his Eternal Word-Made-Flesh (cf. Jn 1:14). St. Ephrem states: “I considered the Creator-Word, and likened it to the Rock that accompanied the people in the wilderness. It was not from any reservoir of water within the Rock that it poured forth glorious streams for them: there was no water in the Rock, yet oceans sprang forth from it. In like manner, the Word created things out of nothing. Blessed is that person accounted worthy to inherit your Paradise! In his book, Moses described the creation of the natural world, so that both Nature and Scripture might bear witness to the Creator: Nature, through man's use of it, Scripture, through his reading of it. These are the witnesses which abound everywhere; they are to be found at all times, present at every hour, confuting the unbeliever, who is ungrateful towards the Creator.”18

The pastoral implication of this idea of the Word of God is striking. Its history is intimately intertwined with the history of humankind. In fact, it is the very basis of the history of humanity. For this reason, human history is not composed simply of human thoughts, words and initiatives. Vibrant traces of the Word of God can be seen in nature and culture. Not only does the Word give human knowledge its true value, but the human sciences themselves help reveal the Word’s identity. The Word, in taking on a human nature, reveals the humanism intended from the very beginning. In a special way, the Word itself chose a people to share the path of freedom and salvation and to show the steadfastness and patience of God and his being an “Emmanuel” (Is 7:14) “God-with-us” (Is 8:10; cf. Rm 8:31; Rev 21:3). This explains how the Word of God, through biblical testimony, was reflected in the thoughts and expressions of individuals through the ages. At times, this took place in a contorted and beleaguered manner like a cry for help in the dark events of history, yet it had extraordinary effects in history as seen in an appealing manner in the lives of the saints. Living their special charisms as gifts of the Holy Spirit, they showed the inherent, fundamental potentiality of the Word of God, when taken to heart.

Today, people need help to understand the correct relationship between public Revelation, which constitutes the Christian Creed, and private revelations, not to mention the importance of both for a faith which is indeed genuine.

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