Pope Francis: The dynamic word of God cannot be moth-balled

A little something for the Catholic cats and pigeons to have fun with:

Tradition is a living reality and only a partial vision regards the “deposit of faith” as something static. The word of God cannot be moth-balled like some old blanket in an attempt to keep insects at bay! No. The word of God is a dynamic and living reality that develops and grows because it is aimed at a fulfilment that none can halt. This law of progress, in the happy formulation of Saint Vincent of Lérins, “consolidated by years, enlarged by time, refined by age” (Commonitorium, 23.9: PL 50), is a distinguishing mark of revealed truth as it is handed down by the Church, and in no way represents a change in doctrine.

Doctrine cannot be preserved without allowing it to develop, nor can it be tied to an interpretation that is rigid and immutable without demeaning the working of the Holy Spirit. “God, who in many and various ways spoke of old to our fathers” (Heb 1:1), “uninterruptedly converses with the bride of his beloved Son” (Dei Verbum, 8). We are called to make this voice our own by “reverently hearing the word of God” (ibid., 1), so that our life as a Church may progress with the same enthusiasm as in the beginning, towards those new horizons to which the Lord wishes to guide us.

– Pope Francis: The dynamic word of God cannot be moth-balled

Paul Mitchell, ‘Get the Word’

In the beginning was the word
and the word was with God
then a bag snatcher snatched it
laughed and carried it along a laneway
climbed a cyclone fence
pursued by the constabulary
then dropped the word
in an empty playground.

Now the word was with the law
who took it to the station.

But they took their eyes off it.
The word slipped out the window
said itself down a wall
I can I will I am
finding my way to God.

Overhearing was a priest
who dragged it off to seminary
bound it up in leather
shone a torch in its face
said Show the way to God.

The tortured word was honest
but struggled with its bindings
tried to free itself from paper
it was stamped upon
the imprisoned word of God cried.

Let me off these pages
I can show the way to love
the one I had with Dad
when he spoke me I spoke him
and when that phrase was in the air
it was both of us as well.

The priest took the word to council
who took it to a committee who slapped it
on the table of a busy bishop
who fenced it from intruders.

But he was knocked clean over
by that scheming snatcher
who took the word and threw it
all over the speaking earth.

— Paul Mitchell, Minorphysics (Brisbane: Interactive Press, 2003), 28.

[HT: Simon Carey Holt]

Word of God – A Hymn

1. We cannot live without His Word,
We cannot live without His Voice;
We dare not think the thoughts of men,
Or, in the words they give, rejoice.
The primal darkness fled the scene
When God gave utt’rance to the Word:
The Spirit moved across the deep
And all obeyed the Voice it heard.

2. God spoke the Word that made the world,
He spoke the truth and Man was made;
In joy and peace and love they lived,
And walked with Him from day to day.
The serpent brought the word—deceit—
And spoke it to the primal pair.
Another word than God’s had come;
This word was death, and death to prayer.

3. Down through the ages our God speaks—
The primal couple heard the curse—
The prophets never ceased to tell
The Word in image, song and verse.
The might and holiness of God
In love and mercy present are
Where’er the Word is uttered forth
By sun and moon and furthest star.

4. The Word made flesh has come to dwell
And show in human modes our God.
That Word heals Man and makes him pure
By power of His flowing blood.
This Word is life to us who hear.
Our spirits by that life are fed.
We share this life with all mankind;
We offer them the Living Bread.

5. Ah, Word of God we weep with joy
To have Your Voice within our hearts,
To live afresh each time You speak
Your love to us in all our parts.
Ah, Father God—whose Word is power—
Ah, Spirit-Word that flows so free,
Ah, Living Word, ah, Son of God,
We worship—Word-in-Trinity.

This hymn is by Geoffrey Bingham. Music and overheads can be downloaded here.