Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Loving the Word of God in the Scared Scripture through which he speaks to each one of us, in the knowledge that “the Word of God transcends time: human opinions pass, today they are the latest trend, tomorrow they are already out of date, while the Word of God is eternal and leads to eternity”. The figure of St. Jerome who believed that “in the word of God we receive the eternal Word, Eternity”, led the Pope to encourage the 30 thousand people present at the general audience to deepen their knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures through individual and communal readings.
Benedict spoke to the crowd gathered beneath an Autumnal sun in St Peter’s square about Jerome, IV century “father of the Church”, hermit, secretary and councillor of Pope Damasus, scholar and author. Jerome was responsible for the Latin version of the Bible known as the Vulgate which was recognised by the Council of Trent and it’s still today the official Catholic Church text.
Benedict XVI also highlighted that Jerome “placed the Bible at the centre of his life and committed himself to living it concretely throughout his lengthy earthly existence”. He defended the faith opposing various rigours and heresies; he exhorted monks to perfection and taught classical and Christian culture to young students. He also welcomed with a pastoral spirit pilgrims who visited the Holy Land”, where he had journeyed following the death of Pope Damasus and where he too died beside the Grotto of the Nativity.
Tracing the life of the Saint, Benedict XVI invited all present to learn from him “love for God’s word in the Sacred Scripture. Ignoring the Scriptures, he used to say, means ignoring Christ”. For every Christians, the Pope underlined, “it is very important to maintain a lively and two dimensional dialogue with God”, individual and communal. Because, he explained, “God speaks to every one of us today”. Sacred Scripture must not be seen as words from the past, “but God is speaking to me today and I must strive to understand what He has to say”. Thus “in order not to fall into the trap of individualism, the Word of God, even though it is always personal, was given to build the community”, in short the living Church. This is why “we must read it with the Church; it is the privileged place where we can hear the liturgy and where God becomes present in our lives”.