Reflection & Dialogue: Prayer without ceasing. Reading the Scriptures
Today’s readings provide two clear topics for our reflection, topics mutually related. These are Jesus’ call for prayer without ceasing and Paul’s emphasis on the Bible as a guide for Christian life, an approach to the Sunday Scripture readings which this internet site attempts to follow.
With regard to prayer, it must be regarded as necessary, since belief in Christ cannot be understood without a personal relationship with God in prayer. Christianity is a mystery, a mystery that demands this personal relationship. Without this there is no living faith. Of course there are many different forms of prayer, both public and private, but any of the forms need to have this personal relationship with God, and in the Christian tradition under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
With regard to the reading and the study of the Bible there is no better place to begin to examine their importance than today’s reading from the Second Letter to Timothy. This reading can serve as a timely reminder of the importance attached by the Vatican II Council to the reading of Scripture in the new revised liturgy, especially in the readings at the Sunday Mass. The Council goes beyond this and in its Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) there is an entire chapter on the place of scripture in the life of the Church, and in the various aspects of Christian living. In this chapter special mention is made of its importance for the all clerics – priests, deacons, catechists, and all with direct contact with the ministry of the Word, and a call on them to immerse themselves in the Scriptures by constant sacred reading (lectio sacra) and diligent study. In another Council document, in the Decree on the Ministry and the Life of Priests, the matter is attended to in greater detail, with a special section on the priests as ministers of God’s word, with an expressed desire that they endeavour to treat of contemporary problems in the light of Christ’s teaching – something this Internet site has been attempting to do over the years, from 2011 onwards.