VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here are translations of the synodal propositions 1-5, which were submitted to Benedict XVI at the end of the world Synod of Bishops on the “Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” held in October at the Vatican.
ZENIT will publish a translation of the remaining propositions in subsequent services.
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Documents that were presented to the Supreme Pontiff
Presented for the consideration of the Supreme Pontiff — in addition to the documents on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church relating to this Synod, namely the lineamenta, the instrumentum laboris, the reports before and after discussion, and the texts of the interventions, whether those presented in the hall or those written, the reports of the minor circles and their discussions — above all some specific proposals, which the fathers held to be of particular importance.
The synodal fathers humbly requested the Holy Father to take the opportunity to offer a document on the mystery of the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church, also in the light of the Year dedicated to St. Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles, on the 2,000th anniversary of his birth.
From the dogmatic constitution “Dei Verbum” to the synod on the Word of God
The synodal fathers, at more than 40 years after the promulgation of the dogmatic constitution on the divine revelation “Dei Verbum” to the work of the Vatican II ecumenical council, acknowledge with gratitude the great benefits contributed by this document to the life of the Church, at the exegetic, theological, spiritual, pastoral and ecumenical level.
Throughout the history of the “intellectus fidei” and of Christian doctrine, this constitution brought to light the Trinitarian and historic salvific horizon of revelation.
In these years the ecclesial awareness has undoubtedly grown that Jesus Christ, God’s Word incarnate, “by the very fact of his presence and with the manifestation he makes of himself with words and works, with signs and miracles, and especially with his death and his resurrection from the dead, and at last with the sending of the Spirit of truth, fulfills and completes Revelation and corroborates it with the divine testimony, that is that God is with us to deliver us from the darkness of sin and death and resurrect us for eternal life” (“Dei Verbum,” 4).
All this has allowed for further reflection on the infinite value of the Word of God that is given to us in sacred Scripture, as inspired testimony of revelation, which with the living Tradition of the Church constitutes the supreme rule of faith (cf. “Dei Verbum,” 21). It is this same Word that is kept and interpreted faithfully by the Magisterium (cf. “Dei Verbum,” 10), which is celebrated in the sacred Liturgy and which gives itself to us in the Eucharist as bread of eternal life (cf. John 6).
Treasuring all that emerged in these years, the Church feels today the need to reflect further on the mystery of the Word of God in its different articulations and pastoral implications. Hence, this synodal assembly expresses the hope that all the faithful will grow in the awareness of the mystery of Christ, only savior and mediator between God and men (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15), and the Church renewed by the religious hearing of the Word of God might undertake a new missionary season, proclaiming the Good News to all men.
FIRST PART: THE WORD OF GOD IN THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH
Analogy “Verbi Dei”
The expression Word of God is analogical. It refers first of all to the Word of God in Person who is the Only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, Word of God made flesh (cf. John 18) is the unique and definitive Word entrusted to humanity. To receive the Revelation, man must open his mind and heart to the action of the Holy Spirit that makes him understand the Word of God present in the sacred Scriptures. Man responds to God in full liberty with the obedience of the faith (cf. Romans 1:5; 2 Corinthians 10:5-6; “Dei Verbum,” 5).
Mary, Mother of Jesus, personifies this obedience of the faith in an exemplary manner, she is also the archetype of the faith of the Church that hears and receives the Word of God.
Dialogical Dimension of Revelation
When dialogue refers to Revelation it implies the primacy of the Word of God addressed to man. In his great love, in fact, God willed to encounter humanity and took the initiative to speak to men calling them to share in his very life. The specificity of Christianity is manifested in the event of Jesus Christ, summit of Revelation, fulfillment of the promises of God and mediator of the encounter between man and God. He, “that has revealed God to us” (cf. John 1:18), is the unique and definitive Word entrusted to mankind. To receive the Revelation, man must open his mind and heart to the action of the Holy Spirit who makes him understand the Word of God present in the sacred Scriptures. Man responds to God in full liberty with the obedience of the faith (cf. Romans 1:5; 2 Corinthians 10:5-6; “Dei Verbum,” 5).
Mary, Mother of Jesus, personifies this obedience of the faith in an exemplary way; she is also archetype of the faith of the Church that listens to and receives the Word of God.
Holy Spirit and Word of God
The sacred Scriptures, being a gift entrusted by the Holy Spirit to the Church Bride of Christ, have in the Church their own hermeneutical place.
The Spirit himself, who is Author of the sacred Scriptures, is also guide of their correct interpretation in the formation of the “fides Ecclesiae” through time.
The Synod recommended to pastors to remind all those baptized of the role of the Holy Spirit in inspiration (cf. “Dei Verbum,” 11), in the interpretation and understanding of the sacred Scriptures (cf. “Dei Verbum,” 12).
Consequently, all of us disciples are invited to invoke the Holy Spirit frequently, so that he will lead us to ever more profound knowledge of the Word of God and to the testimony of our faith (cf. John 15:26-27). They remind the faithful that the sacred Scriptures close evoking the common cry of the Spirit and the Bride: “Come Lord Jesus” (cf. Revelation 22:17-20).[Translation by ZENIT]