June 05, 2014

Favorite Scripture

Interesting to read this from Tim at Catholic Bibles:
As part of this blog tour, I have been asked to comment on chapter nine, which focuses on St. Paul. I was very delighted to get to write a bit on St. Paul. When I ask people what their favorite part of scripture, I often hear one of three things: 1) The Psalms; 2) The Gospel of John; 3) Paul. Notice I didn't say which letter of Paul, but simply Paul. I have found that Paul has touched so many people who are daily Bible readers, Catholic or Protestant, that often they are unable to pick which of his letters they like best. It would be like selecting your favorite child. I have often felt the same way. Those thirteen letters of St. Paul provide us a rich insight into understanding the Church, how to live as Christians, the role of Grace and Faith, and, put simply, Jesus Christ himself. As Hahn says: "When we read them, we sometimes feel as if we're being propelled forward by a hurricane, a tidal wave, or some other force of nature. But it's even stronger than that, because it's a force of Grace (104)." And as Hahn points out, when we read those letters, or hear them in the liturgy, we are exposing ourselves to that same powerful force (105).
Timely for me in part because I recently snarked in my journal:
Hour in the evangelical church was heartfelt, if a bit Hallmark-y. Readings from the Psalms and Paul's letters, and why not? The gospels, other than John 3:16, aren't quite as beloved in many circles as St. Paul.

What amazes me about Popes Francis and Benedict is they encourage without cloying. And I'm deeply grateful for how the liturgy allows the priest to more or less disappear, how the focus becomes God and not the priest. Except for the homily, the words the priest says are not his own and thus our inner critic need not emerge. We can truly pray. When I hear extemporaneous prayer at a non-Catholic church spoken by the minister I'm always sensitive to “how he's doing” (how fluid he sounds) rather than actually praying. Though I assume that's something I'd get over with practice.

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