Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading Scripture with Honesty

When we read the Scriptures honestly we can admit that certain passages mean little to us. We are ready to agree with God because we have no reason to disagree with him. We can approve of this or that commandment or divine action because it does not touch us personally, we do not yet see the demands it makes on us personally.

Other passages frankly repel us. If we had the courage we would say “no” to the Lord. We should note these passages carefully. They are a measure of the distance between God and us and also they are a measure of the distance between ourselves as we are now and our potential definitive selves.

For the gospel is not a succession of external commandments, it is a whole gallery of internal portraits. And every time we say “no” to the gospel we are refusing to be a person in the full sense of the word.

There are passages of the gospel which make our hearts burn, which give light to our intelligence and shake up our will. They give life and strength to our whole physical and moral being. These passages reveal the points where God and his image in us already coincide, the stage we have already reached, perhaps only momentarily, fleetingly, in becoming what we are called to be.

We should note these passages even more carefully than the passages mentioned above. They are the points at which God’s image is already present in us fallen men. And from these beginnings we can strive to continue our transformation into the person we feel we want and ought to be. We must be faithful to these revelations. In this at least we must always be faithful.

If we do this, [such] passages increase in number, the demands of the gospel become fuller and more precise, slowly the fogs disperse and we see the image of the person we should be. Then we can begin standing before God in truth.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, in Courage to Pray

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that, by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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