Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Importance of Word of God for Vocations - Verbum Domini

Pope Benedict recently published Verbum Domini, an apostolic exhortation drawing on the Synod of Bishops held in 2008 to reflct on 'the word of God in the life and mission of the Church'. It is an interesting document in which the Holy Father is underlining the importance of the word of God in living our personal vocations: our lifelong call to holiness, and the specific call of each person. Pope Benedict addressed specific words to people in various vocations and states in life - including bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians and those in consecrated religious life together with married couples and families. His words will resonate with Dominicans and those thinking of the Dominican vocation with our particular emphasis on the proclamation and preaching of the Word of God. Below are some quotable quotes from Verbum Domini and those they are addressed to:

To Ordained Ministers: '....bishops, priests and deacons can hardly think that they are living out their vocation and mission apart from a decisive and renewed commitment to sanctification, one of whose pillars is contact with God's word........priests need to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings and bring about a new outlook in him........those aspiring to the ministerial priesthood are called to a profound personal relationship with God's word, particularly in lectio divina, so that this relationship will in turn nurture their vocation.....'.

To those in consecrated life: '.....both old and new expressions of special consecration are called to be genuine schools of the spiritual life, where the Scriptures can be read according to the Holy Spirit in the Church, for the benefit of the entire people of God.....contemplative men an women by their lives of prayer, attentive hearing and neditation on God's word, remind us that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.....'.

To the lay faithful:'....who live out their specific vocation to holiness by a life in the Spirit expressed in a particular way by their engagement in temporal matters and by their participation in earthly activities'. Pope Benedict appealed to dioceses to provide opportunities for the laity 'to be trained to discern God's will through a familiarity with his word, read and studied in the Church under the guidance of her legitimate pastors.'

To married couples and families: ' must never be forgotten that the word of God is at the very origin of marriage and that Jesus himself made marriage one of the institutions of his Kingdom, elevating to the dignity of a sacrament what was inscribed in human nature from the to God's word leads us to point out that nowadays this institution is in many ways under attack from the current mentality......part of authentic parenthood is to pass on and bear witness to the meaning of the life in Christ: through their fidelity and the unity of family life, spouses are the first to proclaim God's word to their children........the ecclesial community must support and assist them in fostering family prayer, attentive hearing of the word of God, and knowledge of the Bible'.
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