26 January 2013

The Soul of Theology

Sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation. By scrutinizing in the light of faith all truth stored up in the mystery of Christ, theology is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated by that word. For the Sacred Scriptures contain the word of God and since they are inspired, really are the word of God; and so the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology.

Dei  Verbum , 24.

Whenever I'm writing a paper, I keep a bible on my desk.  Actually, there are usually a stack of books on my desk at all times, whether I'm writing or not.  But, the bible is a necessary component.  I've grown into the habit (and please God, I think it's a good one), that when constructing a paper, my mind is consistently drawing biblical analogies or lifting small pieces of scripture from my consciousness to illustrate a point, or more often, to turn a phrase embedded with scriptural emphasis.  

What usually happens then, is this.  I am simultaneously thinking and writing, come up with the turn of a phrase and realize that it is from scripture.  I search the internet for the phrase, find the citation and then open my bible, find the citation and check its context (avoiding proof-texting as best I can!).  

And thus, at the end of a one-page synthesis paper, when I make a reference to entering into the marvelous light, I find that it's a reference to 1 Peter 2:9 and go about making the proper citation.  

This is part of the gift of religious life, it seems to me.  We receive the grace of praying the divine office at least three times a day (and five times, if one is in the clerical state) and assist at the Eucharist daily (or at least we should make earnest effort to do so).  Along with our own spiritual reading and reflection on the sacred page, we are thus (or should be) in perfect position to make scripture not only the soul of our theology, but perhaps more importantly, the soul of our life.

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