Vatican II on Scriptural Prayer
The importance of scriptural prayer is affirmed in several documents that came out of the Vatican II Council of the early 1960's. Excerpts from two of these documents are shown below and were taken from a workbook published by The Center for Learning.
"This tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (Luke 2:19, 51 )..." [DV 8]
"...all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and ruled by sacred Scripture. For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it remains the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her [children], the food of the soul, the pure and perennial source of spiritual life." [DV 21]
"This cultivation of Scripture is required lest any of them become 'an empty preacher of the word of God outwardly, who is not a listener to it inwardly'... And let them remember that prayer should accompany the reading of sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for 'we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine sayings.' " [DV 25]
"Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations... He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the church." [SC 7]
"The renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them afire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a fountain, grace is channeled into us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their goal, are most powerfully achieved... The spiritual life, however, is not confined to participation in the liturgy. The Christian is assuredly called to pray with his brethren, but he must also enter into his chamber to pray to the Father in secret (cf. Matthew 6:6 )..." [SC 12]
"Thus if the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy are to be achieved, it is necessary to promote that warm and living love for Scripture to which the venerable tradition of both Eastern and Western rites gives testimony."
DV, Dei Verbum, "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation"
SC, Sacrosanctum Concilium, "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy"
For further exploration of the Vatican II documents, go to the Vatican Archives web page.
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