20 October 2009

Patristic Quote of the Day

Therefore, I beg and exhort you, dearly beloved, if any of you know letters, read the sacred Scriptures rather frequently; those of you who do not should listen with attentive ears when others read it. The light and eternal food of the soul is nothing else but the word of God, without which the soul can neither see nor live. Just as our body dies if it does not receive food, so, too, our soul is killed if it does not receive the word of God. -- St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermon 6


Myrtle said...

I would like to dare add to this one word: aloud.

Read the sacred Scriptures aloud rather frequently. Read it aloud to yourself. Read it aloud to others. Let it be on your tongue. Let it fall from your lips. Let it fill your ears and your mind and your heart.

I am a greedy glutton when it comes to having the Word of God read to me. I admit so. That the Divine Liturgy includes whole great big chunks of scripture being read aloud was the greatest and most wonderful surprise to me. Just think, if my math skills are working, last Sunday I was gifted 32 verses of the Living Word and that doesn’t even include the verses I get on a regular basis as a part of the Liturgy. Seriously, that is more scripture being read aloud in one day than what was read on average in more than half year of Sundays in my previous churches. Such utter joy…

For years I have lamented how scripture reading had all but disappeared from the services and Sunday school lessons and bibles studies I had attended. In fact, I freely admit that I devoured Christian historical fiction novels not for their literary craftsmanship, historical knowledge (Brock and Bodie Thoene excepted), or even theology since they are, in truth, merely thinly veiled romance novels Christian women can read and feel slightly less guilty over than their secular counterparts, but for the fact that most of the ones I read hold a reverence for the Living Word. Characters are always coming upon someone reading the bible and asking what is being read. “Read it to me” being the common request. Yes, this is a convenient way for the author to add in a bit of scripture (sometimes the only “Christian” part of the novel), but it also provides a certain measure of fellowship for me.

So, since I have learned you confessional Lutherans understand the power and gift of the Living Word, that I am no longer the only “bible freak” around, I ask to be read to all the time and I read aloud at the drop of a hat. I even read aloud to myself.

A while ago, on a very, very dark day in the face of pure evil, I called my pastor in distress and told him that I did not want to be alone. He was at a loss as how to help in such a moment, but came willingly and ultimately came with the perfect gift. He read to me Compline and the holy scripture reading he chose was Philippians...the entire book. From beginning to end, he read that epistle, filling my ears and mind and heart with such truth that though my hurt was still great I was comforted in a way I could not have imagined when I cried out for help. Such is the power of the Living Word.

He explained recently “that the classic Lutheran phrase for pastoral care is the German seelsorge = cure of souls. This is what we use in place of the more secular word ‘counseling.’ So a pastor is a seelsorger, one who brings the cure to the sheep which he has been called to serve as undershepherd by the Good Shepherd. And the cure he brings is the one provided by the Good Shepherd, the Word and Sacraments.”

Would that every pastor, preacher, minister, father, and reverend out there truly worked to cure the souls in their care…

So, I add the word “aloud.” Read it aloud.

William Weedon said...

Amen, Myrtle, and that is exactly what the saint had in mind. Aloud!