WEEK ONE: The Creed
DAY 2: Trusting God’s Word (Scripture and Tradition)
If someone claims to have authority to perform a very important task, we want to know that we can trust that individual. If someone pounds on your door and says, “Open up! Police!” you certainly want to verify that they have a badge before you let them in. Authority and trust go hand in hand.
When it comes to our faith, the question of authority is crucial. We want and need to know that we can trust those who speak to us about how we are to live our lives in relationship with God and one another. Of course, this trust begins with God. As in any relationship, our trust in God is based on, not only his words, but his actions. Take a look at the following passages that speak of trusting God. Read them slowly and prayerfully and make them your own.
We place our trust in God because God has full authority—God is, after all, the author of life! God, in turn, has given full authority to his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, RSV). Jesus, in turn, gave full authority to Peter and the Apostles when he told Peter that he would build his church upon him and gave him the keys to the kingdom. (Matthew 16:18–19). This means that we are called to place our trust in Church leadership, which speaks and acts with the authority that comes from God through Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
As we look ahead to our Year of Faith, we can be grateful that we have such a reliable source: God himself! We can trust God’s Word and, with knowing that God’s Word can be trusted, we can recommit ourselves to listening to God’s Word in our daily living. Spend some time today being thankful that you can trust God’s Word in Scripture and Tradition.
Reflection Questions: Choose one of the following questions and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments in the comments box below this post)
- Which Psalm passage above resonates most with your experience and why?
- What is your personal experience with Scripture? How familiar are you with the Bible? What is your biggest obstacle when it comes to deepening your familiarity with the Bible?
- When and why do you turn to the Bible for inspiration and guidance?
- How might you be able to deepen your “relationship” with the Bible during this Year of Faith?
- What advantage does having a Magisterium—an official teaching office— in addition to the Bible, give to the Catholic Church (as opposed to Protestantism which has Scripture only)?
- How trusting are you of the Church’s Magisterium? What has influenced that level of trust for you? What helps that trust? What challenges it?
- How might you be able to deepen your understanding of Church teachings during this Year of Faith? What resources might you look at more closely (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Papal Encyclicals, Documents of the Second Vatican Council, etc.)?
Holy Spirit, guide me to encounter the Living God, revealed in Scripture and Tradition. Help me to receive God’s Word, passed on through this one deposit of faith – Scripture and Tradition – and to be nourished by it so that I, in turn, may pass it along to others.
- Imagine What Isn’t Said
- Scripture and Imagination
- Praying with Scripture
- We Can Trust Our Experience
- Passing On Our Faith
- Tradition in the Catholic Church: Why It’s Still Important
CCC References: 74-141
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I hope you’re enjoying our online summer retreat, Preparing for a Year of Faith! Take a few minutes each day at your convenience to “gather” here on my blog as we seek to add some flavor to our faith lives by deepening our understanding of the truths of our faith as given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Learn more about the Year of Faith. Watch a brief video explaining what this online retreat is all about.
I start my morning with a scripture reading & a thought question on how can my actions reflect God’s words. Sometimes the way is easy, other times not. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
I know how to use the Bible I feel comfortable reading it but I have never really looked thought to read it on a daily basis or to read it to guide me but now I see that tat can be an option for me.
•What advantage does having a Magisterium—an official teaching office— in addition to the Bible, give to the Catholic Church (as opposed to Protestantism which has Scripture only)?
•How trusting are you of the Church’s Magisterium? What has influenced that level of trust for you? What helps that trust? What challenges it?
I used to be more critical of Church teachings that did not make sense to me. However, I found that once I adopted the following assumptions, I was not only better able to understand, but was more open to growing in my relationship with God.
1. The Church probably knows better than me, so I should seek to understand the reasons behind the teachings.
2. The Church has a tremdous history of Saints who had far deeper relationships with God than I do, and many of them contributed to the establishing of Church teachings, Bible interpretations, etc.
Since adopting these assumptions, I have found a great depth to the thinking & teachings of the Church. I have learned about the great wealth of knowledge and the great examples of faith in the many saints who have lived the gospel over the centuries. I have found that most of my criticisms of Church teachings disolve away once I understand the depth behind them.
It is easier to walk with God when you walk with centuries of thought, provided by people more experienced with God and more knowledgable than myself, than it is to try and figure it all out with my own limited mind & heart.
I’m looking forward to deepening my familiarity with the Bible with a more concerted effort to study it. I feel my greatest obstacle to achieving deeper comprehension is the lack of time of I have given thus far.Life is indeed busy, with more and more demands being made.Yet, with life as it is, there is a need for a deeper connection with God. As opposed to those who have the discipline for independent study, my learning style requires guidance and direction. Seminars, workshops and retreat experiences are some opportunities I will pursue in the upcoming year. I hope I can achieve personal goals to be more knowledgable about my faith during this time.
What strikes me in the fragments of the Psalms is the “never be put to shame” theme. That is not what I trust God for. Who was ever put to greater shame than Jesus? What I do trust is the Resurrection. What appeared to be shame was triumph. I can trust that if I live by God’s Word, make my important decisions prayerfully, and try to grow in my relationship with God, there is probably a bigger picture than I can see in times of trouble.
I try to set aside some time for “Lectio Divina” every week. Making it a firm commitment for every day during the Year of Faith should deepen my relationship with the Bible.
I turn to the Bible for inspiration and guidance every day. I made a Women’s Retreat and learned the importance for me to start everyday with Scripture. Every morning I read the Scripture of the Day online and it gives me also an explanation and meditation for me to reflect on.
Also I recently took 4 classes of instruction on the Old Testament. I will continue to take any classes I can to better understand Scripture in this Year of the Faith.
I really love the book of Psalms, of course you gave us ones dealing with trust in God, but I have found every human emotion dwells in this book and how those who were faithful to God prayed their situation. As I was reading, I became very aware how much more meaningful using a psalm a day…
This year to deepen my connection and understanding with the bible I will increase my knowledge by taking scripture courses. Most importantly the goal is to reflect on the Word of God and how it may impact and help mold my life.
Good evening to all. My apologies for joining you a day late on this retreat. Revelation…WOW! God has been revealing himself to me through my relationship with my mom. She talked and I listened with God’s grace. What a blessing He has given me to reconnect with her! Like you have mentioned Joe, life is not all about us. It is trying to figure out how God will work with, in and through us. The “WIT” prayer that is actually a part of the creed. My faith journey is to commit to this online retreat and read your book. I have not read the Bible, but have an understanding of scripture through regularly attending Church and through my catholic childhood education. I feel fearful that I cannot quote scripture, but I do know that God loves me unconditionally and I can only promise to Him to try and be better each and every day to everyone whose lives I touch. I like to relate to the music played during church and the Psalm “God will provide for all that we need, here at the Table of plenty.” In closing, I am here with you all on this retreat journey as God is in me.
I’m making an effort to read the bible on a daily basis in order to deepen my familiarity with scripture. I find my biggest obstacles are time and my memory. As for the time, I leave the bible in our vehicle and read it on the way to work (as a passenger of course). I find myself having to re-read passages in order to help with my memory problem.
I find comfort in God’s word, especially in today’s time, when it feels like the faithful are being attacked at all ends. This came to mind as I read the psalm passages.
I love reading the bible and really believe God talks to us through its passages. There is so much to learn and try to understand, its a source of inspiration, a fountain of love and an outpouring of God’s love for us. I attend as many seminars and courses and read as many books as I can on the scriptures as the more familiar you are with the bible the easier it is to share your faith with others. The Psalms are a beautiful way of praying with God and strengthening our relationship with him and our families. I love to read and summer is a great time to catch up but sometimes a feel guilty when I choose to read a novel rather than the bible or books such as your books Joe. Does any one else feel like that ?
Kay, I’m right there with you! I have read such a wonderful variety of Catholic books and I do feel guilty when I choose to read a novel instead. There are only so many hours in a week and I still have so much of my faith to learn to live and share! And much of my Catholic reading HAS been pleasure reading, but some of it has been very dull as well. My most recent read was by Fr. Larry Richards “Surrender! The Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will.” It was a very quick, yet powerful read. After that one, I was more than willing to read anything else this gifted writer has to offer. Other times, I get done and just need a good, easy-flowing novel.
Psalm 25:2 “I trust in you; do not let me be put to sham, nor let my enemies triumph over me”. Wow, this couldn’t have come at a better time! I have been praying these past few days for the strength to overcome an enemy, to not let this enemy take over my thoughts and life.
I am most grateful for the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. I can’t imagine picking up the Bible and expecting to interpret it correctly on my own. Every day I start by going to http://www.usccb.org/bible/reflections/ on the United States Catholic Bishops’ website to have someone give me their interpretation of the daily readings. This is my food for the day, as I eat my breakfast! The Magisterium ensures that the original message Jesus left us is not misinterpreted, which is likely to happen when humans are left to their own devices. It would be so easy to interpret the Bible in a way that makes me get what I want. I don’t believe Jesus is too pleased to see this happening. We must guard closely what was given to us and not allow the ‘sign of the times’ change our faith.
The Magisterium is a great gift to the Church when the Pope and bishops lead the people like shepherds: with care and love by true paths. Especially in the interpretation of Scripture, I find great blessing in the Magisterium.
However, when bishops sin as in those bishops and diocesan officials acting in the name of their ordinary, who chose to “protect” priest perpetrators of child sexual abuse rather than children in this ongoing scandal, the Magisterium becomes a stumbling block to faith.
In times like these, I find that I need to pray more for our Church leaders, that they will be true to their calling to be shepherds of the flock of the Good Shepherd and not “hired hands” who abandon the flock to the wolves. A true shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
I don’t mean to be negative or naive…at the heart of this problem is the mystery of evil. Ultimately, we must trust in God’s providence and know that God will prevail over evil.
In order to deepen my “relationship” with the Bible, this coming September I will start my religion class by reading a passage from the Bible to my students. Then I will have the students respond to the passage. This is my goal for this coming year in order to strengthen my faith as well as the children.
New International Version (NIV)
3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
This one jumped out at me for two reasons. (1) It seems to be speaking of those moments when we are filled with fear: “when I am afraid…” It’s easy to say “His will be done” when things are working out the way we hope. It’s not so easy to do that when it looks like things are not going as we had planned. We have to be ready to accept His will, and let go of our fear, no matter what. How do we manage that? Faith. Prayer. Yes, but this Psalm also reminds us (2) that God has given us something to help along the way–Sacred Scripture: “I put my trust in you. In God,whose word I praise.”
I turn to the bible on a daily basis, usually I read the bible when I turn in at night but if I’m feeling conflicted I open the bible to examen my feelings and how to best handle them.
At an RCIA, this passage was given to the whole class from Heb. 4:12, “The Word of God is living and effective. It is sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides the soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges reflections and thoughts of the heart.” I memorize this quote. Like many comments that were shared above, I absolutely agree that the Magisterium is a great gift from God. I mean the whole Church is a gift from God because it is the Body of His Son, Jesus Christ. If it is a gift from God, then we should treasure it, appreciate it, study it, and most of all, love it with all our being. The greatest gift of the Personhood of the Triune God Himself. Oops, I realize I’m getting into my mystical mood here. God bless you all living saints.