VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop who
prepared the final message of the synod of bishops suggests
reading the Bible like a love letter, such that each
reader approaches it with the certainty, "It was written for
Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi said this today before the definitive reading
of the synod´s final message, which was approved by the
The message begins by "propos[ing] a spiritual journey consisting of
four phases" "that will carry us from all eternity and
the infinite nature of God to our homes and the
streets of our cities."
Its four sections focus on "The Voice
of the Word: Revelation"; "The Face of the Word: Jesus
Christ"; "The House of the Word: The Church"; and "The
Roads of the Word: The Mission."
Laced with biblical citations, the
message recalls the primary themes that have been constantly looked
at by the synodal assembly.
"Our faith is not only centered
on a book, but on a history of salvation and,
as we will see, on a person, Jesus Christ, the
Word of God made flesh, man and history," it begins
The text rises above any division between exegesis and
theology, or exegesis and magisterium, asserting that "exegetical knowledge must
[…] weave itself indissolubly with spiritual and theological tradition so
that the divine and human unity of Jesus Christ and
Scripture is not broken."
The message vigorously promotes catechesis and well
prepared and delivered homilies, as well as lectio divina.
section on the mission urges every baptized person to be
a missionary of the Word in his environment, in dialogue
with believers of other religions and particularly with the world
of culture and art.
A final word is addressed to those
"our persecuted brothers and sisters or those who are put
to death because of the Word of God and because
of the witness they render to the Lord Jesus: As
witnesses and martyrs they tell us of ´the power of
the word,´ origin of their faith, of their hope and
of their love for God and for men."
A passionate text
draft of the message was initially presented by Archbishop Ravasi
on Oct. 18. The text immediately brought agreement on two
points: It was one of the most beautiful ever prepared
by a synod and it was very long.
The archbishop explained
today before reading the definitive version that he had received
52 messages from synod fathers asking him to preserve the
draft, making small adjustments. The prelates´ notes explained that they
want to use the message in writing their pastoral letters,
giving retreats to priests and courses to catechists.
Nevertheless, so that
the message could be more easily read, the synodal assembly
suggested the publication of a shorter version, which was prepared
by Archbishop Ravasi in two pages. It is not an
official document, but it was distributed by the secretary-general of
the synod as the "Summary of the Message to the
People of God From the Synod of Bishops."
"It is a
text with passion, with ´pathos,´" affirmed the archbishop, explaining that
this style was chosen because of the genre -- a
message to the people of God -- but also because
"the approach to the Word of God should be warm,
not just exegetical or theological."
Before the final reading of the
message, the Italian prelate suggested this key for the synod
fathers, citing Soren Kierkegaard: "As a lover reads a letter
from his beloved, you must read Scripture … the Bible
has been written for me."
The message was welcomed with a
round of applause, which ratified the assembly approval.
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of message: http://www.zenit.org/article-24050?l=english
Final message: http://www.zenit.org/article-24043?l=english