Prelate Urges Rediscovery of God's Word

Bible Conference Draws 720

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DENVER, Colorado, JULY 2, 2009 ( The archbishop of Denver is urging Catholics to rediscover the Word of God, for their own personal renewal and to bring hope to a culture in need.

Archbishop Charles Chaput affirmed this in an address presented June 26 at the National Catholic Bible Conference in Denver. The archbishop’s words were read by Bishop James Conley, auxiliary of the same archdiocese.

«Too few of us think of God’s Word as exciting or newsworthy enough to be sought out every day,» the archbishop acknowledged.

Therefore, he continued, «too many of us miss the most newsworthy event in life — the experience of God, the Creator of the universe, speaking to us through his Word.»

The prelate stated, «God’s Word has the power to change hearts and history.»

He illustrated two Old Testament stories, of Josiah and of Ezra, in which the Word of God brought about a renewal of the people.

Archbishop Chaput affirmed: «To renew the Church and the world we need to begin with ourselves.  

«It’s tempting to see the moral problems of the wider culture and want to begin there, outside ourselves, focused on others. But all authentic reform begins within our own hearts.»

He underlined the importance of listening to God’s Word every day «until it soaks deeply into our souls.»

You do not need an expert beside you in order to read Scripture, the prelate stated, but «to grasp its depths we need good guides to help us navigate its riches.»

The story of God «guides our own stories,» he noted, «and thus to discern the meaning of our moment in history and of our own lives means we must first grasp the plot of God’s story.»

«We need to let Scripture interpret us, our lives, and our world,» he explained, rather than to see it as something that needs to be interpreted by us.


The Capuchin archbishop highlighted the example of St. Francis of Assisi, whose heart was «aflame with the love of God» through Scripture, and who used that fire to rekindle the «faith and love of many who had strayed.»

He continued, «The best way to evangelize is to burn, like St. Francis did, for the love of God; and to sustain that kind of zeal you need constant contact with the fire of God’s Word.»

Just as «the Eucharist is the body of the Lord made flesh,» the prelate affirmed, «Scripture is the Word of the Lord made written.»

«We must, as the Catholic Tradition makes clear, reverence both,» he added.

Archbishop Chaput recalled the Second Vatican Council and the recent Synod of Bishops on Scripture, noting that the Church is calling for a «recovery of God’s Word.»

He added, «The Church is giving a clarion call to recover the ancient Christian practice of reading Scripture, of knowing God through his Word.»

«It’s now our job to help the Church make the Word of God spread vigorously in our culture — a culture that desperately needs light to dispel its present darkness,» he said to his listeners.

The prelate concluded by urging them to be «witnesses of the one, true, and loving God,» «faithful sons and daughters of the Church,» and «disciples of the Word.»

The conference included 26 addresses, including: «The Secrets of St. Paul’s Spirituality of the Cross» by Tim Gray, «St. Paul and Evangelization: His Motives and His Message» by Peter Williamson, «St. Paul and the Mystery of the Resurrection» by Brant Pitre, and «How Love Acts» by Jeff Cavins. Recordings of these talks are being offered on the conference Web page.

The two-day event was sponsored by Ascension Press, the Augustine Institute, and Denver Catholic Biblical School, and brought together some 720 people.

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