My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Dear Friends
Today it is a time to look at the The Holy Bible is the dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Today I would like to present a brief reflection on the Holy Scriptures, which is the dwelling of God’s Spirit. We all know that the Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and its author is God and man. However, we do not all treat the Holy Bible as the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, as the Book in which the Holy Spirit is present today.
In the Catholic Church a rich liturgy was developed regarding the worship of Jesus in the Eucharist. Golden tabernacle, golden monstrance; all this is to help us become aware of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. On the other hand, the cult of the Holy Scriptures has not been developed, and God is present in it as well. To a large extent this was done in the Orthodox Church, as evidenced by the beautifully decorated and solemn proclamation during the liturgy of the Gospel. In the Eastern Churches, the Holy Bible has an almost parallel place with the tabernacle, in which the present Christ, in the realms of Bread and Wine, is present.
The analogy of the Holy Scriptures with the Eucharist is very clear. As we see in the Eucharist only white bread, and only through the eyes of the heart we see in the form of Bread – Jesus Christ, in the Bible, through the eyes of the body, we see only the text, and through the eyes of the heart we discover the Spirit of God present in it.
It is significant that in the thirteenth century, Saint Francis of Assisi was very keen that Christians would respect not only the Eucharist, but also the Holy Bible. The Franciscan altar, with all its poverty, was to be equipped to the highest possible standard to emphasize the respect for the Body of Christ, which rests on the altar, but at the same time it respected the text of the Holy Scriptures. The Bible should have had its honourable place.
By opening the Holy Bible, we meet with a living God. We should go to some example right now. I recall how I was walking in the Market Square in Krakow in the early morning and met at the street corner a famous actor in Poland, who was also an artist. I admit that I was a little scared by his external appearance. When I sat down and introduced myself to him, I heard a strange confession from him. For 36 hours (two nights and one day) he was reading the Holy Bible all the time. He forgot about food, he forgot to sleep. He read the inspired text, and his house, his thoughts, became a place where all these events took place again. And when he finished reading, he ran away from home because he could not stay where it had all happened. And that morning he waited in front of the cafe’s still- closed doors to strengthen his hungry and hard-pressed body. Someone may say that it was the reading of an artist – a visionary. That is true, but it was also a reading of the Holy Bible by a believer. After 36 hours of such reading, much can change in a person’s life. Anyone who knows this actor knows that in some strange way he had been touched by God’s reality.
Similarly, he survived reading the Letters of St Paul – Saint Augustine, the author of ‘Confessions’. That is how he lived the words of the Gospel of Saint Anthony from the desert and Saint Francis of Assisi. The Holy Spirit spoke to them from the pages of the Bible and today also speaks to people, changing the course of their lives by 180 degrees. Great conversions take place under the influence of the word of God contained in the Scriptures. This is a sign of the living presence of God’s Spirit in this Book.
Personally, I experienced a deep conversation with a mother who came to me crying a few years ago, because her son left the Catholic Church and married a Protestant, and he made this observation: ‘Nobody, ever in the Catholic Church showed me what Treasure there is the Holy Bible. My love for this girl was born by reading the Holy Bible together.’ This girl from the Protestant church opened to him the richness of the inspired Book. Now he comes to visit his family home and asks his parents the question: ‘How can you live, if the Holy Bible lies for months between books in the cupboard? How can you live without the Word of God? ‘
Eleven years have passed since the marriage was contracted. The parents of this boy are beginning to discover the Holy Bible, but I am still troubled by the question: Do we really have to go to the Protestant church to discover what the Holy Bible is? To let the Holy Spirit who lives in the Bible work in our hearts? After all, the Holy Bible is in almost every Catholic family, and there is such great treasure to be discovered in it.
The inspired author in the Book of Job tells us that gold is dust, and silver is mud in comparison with the wisdom of the Bible. If we read all the treasures offered in it, we will find all other treasures. The Holy Bible is the dwelling of the Holy Spirit. We need to discover this Book without which we cannot see the beauty and richness of life. The Bible is the most accessible tool for everyone to contact the Spirit of the living God.
With love and prayers and asking for yours, Fr. Marcin