Praying Scripture for the New Evangelization | Tim Gray on Lectio Divina | Part Four: The Voice of God
on Thursday, 28 June 2012.
by TERI TOLPA
Part Four: The Voice of God
Do you ever have a difficult time listening to God at prayer? The Scriptures are God speaking to us – the Word of God. God is waiting. All we need to do is learn to listen.
The following is Part Four of an excerpt from Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Dr. Tim Gray, PhD, president of the Augustine Institute. (Published by Ascension Press.) If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to pray with Scripture, read on for a taste (and borrow or buy the whole book…if you’re hungry for more!). This is the fourth part of a four part series of an Introduction to the Introduction to Lectio Divina (kind of like the Summa to the Summa).
Part Four: The Voice of God
For St. Augustine and the medieval tradition that followed him, God’s Word to humanity, addressed through the marvelous books of creation and of the soul, was lost on us due to the deafness and blindness caused by our sin. After the Fall, God continually called out to His people through the patriarchs, judges, and prophets of the Old Covenant, but our sins left us deaf to His call. So, in a last effort, God’s Word was made flesh, so that He could heal our deafness and cure our blindness. When the Word became flesh, God’s voice at last could be heard by human ears. Only through Jesus can we come to discern and hear clearly God’s Word to us.
This Word of Divine Revelation is handed down to us through Scripture and Tradition, which provide us with the Rosetta Stone for deciphering all that God wants to communicate to humanity. God desires to enter into a dialogue with us. As the Second Vatican Council noted, “In the sacred books, the Father Who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet His children, and talks to them” (Dei Verbum, 21). With His coming, Jesus opens the entire book of Scriptures to us, and in turn the Scriptures open up the mystery of God’s communication in creation and the soul as well.
A good example of how God speaks in the book of Scripture and opens up the other books of the cosmos and the human person can be seen in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis heard the Gospel and his immersion in it not only conformed him to Christ but opened up the meaning of the book of creation. Francis is known for his joy and love of God’s creation, but too often people see him as a simple-minded tree hugger. Francis exulted in the beauty of nature because he saw that it, like Scripture itself, is a love letter from our Heavenly Father. For St. Francis, creation was always “telling the glory of God,” and so in it he always found an occasion for contemplating the face of God. Francis knew how to hear God’s voice in creation, because he first listened to that voice in Scripture.
It is with good reason then that the Church Fathers (such as St. Augustine) and the medieval Doctors (such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure) saw Scripture as holding a central place in Christian life. The lesson behind all this is simple but profound: the normative way God speaks to His people is through His Word, especially in the Holy Scriptures.
The Augustine Institute | A New Kind of Graduate School for the New Evangelization
In response to the call of Jesus Christ and His Church, the Augustine Institute is a Catholic Institute of Higher Education that forms disciples for leadership in the New Evangelization through intellectual, personal, and practical instruction so that they may renew the Church and transform the world for Christ. Learn more at www.AugustineInstitute.org.