VATICAN CITY, 24 OCTOBER 2008 (VIS) – During this morning’s Twenty-First General Congregation, the Synod Fathers voted on the Final Message of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which has its theme: “The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church”. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
Given below are extracts taken from the Italian-language summary of the Message:
“There are four main points we wish to call to the attention of the People of God and which we will express using four images”: the Voice, the Face, the House and the Road of the Word.
“The divine Voice…sounds out at the origin of creation, … giving rise to the wonders of the universe. It is a Voice that penetrates into history, a history lacerated by human sin and troubled by suffering and death. …It is a Voice that descends into the pages of the Sacred Scripture which we now read in the Church with the guidance of the Holy Spirit”.
“The Face is Jesus Christ Who is Son of the eternal and infinite God, but also a mortal man, linked to a historical period, to a people, to a land”.
“It is He who reveals to us the ‘complete and unitary’ meaning of Sacred Scripture, and hence Christianity is a religion that has at its heart a person, Jesus Christ, Who reveals the Father. It is He Who enables us to understand that the Scriptures are ‘flesh’”.
“The House of the Divine Word…is the Church, which as St. Luke says is supported on four columns: (1) ‘teaching’, in other words reading and understanding the Bible in its announcement to everyone; (2) the ‘breaking of bread’, in other words the Eucharist, source and summit of the life and mission of the Church, …the faithful are invited to nourish themselves in the liturgy at the table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ; (3) ‘prayer’ …the prayerful reading of Sacred Scripture that may lead – in meditation, prayer and contemplation – to the meeting with Christ, Word of the living God; (4) ‘fraternal communion’, because to be true Christians it is not enough to be ‘those who hear the word of God’ but also those ‘who do it’”.
“The last image of this spiritual map is the Road upon which the Word of God travels. … The Word of God must travel the roads of the world, which today also include those of electronic, televisual and virtual communication. The Bible must enter into families…schools and all cultural environments. … Its symbolic, poetic and narrative richness makes it a sign of beauty, both for the faith and for the culture itself, in a world often disfigured by ugliness and brutality.
“The Bible, however, also presents the breath of suffering that arises from the earth, it reaches out to the cry of the oppressed and to the laments of forlorn. At its summit is the cross where Christ, alone and abandoned, experienced the tragedy of atrocious suffering and death. Precisely because of this presence of the Son of God, the darkness of evil and death is irradiated with Paschal light and with hope of glory. …Along the roads of the world we often meet men and women of other religions who listen to and faithfully practice the dictates of their own holy books and who with us can build a world of peace and light”.
“‘We commend you to God and to the message of His grace’. With the same expression as that used by St. Paul in his farewell address to the leaders of the Church in Ephesus, we Synod Fathers commend the faithful of the communities scattered across the face of the earth to the Divine Word, which is also judgement but, above all, grace”. (Vatican INFORMATION SERVICE)
Source: Communication from the Bishop (No. 508, 06 November 2008)