Tuesday, April 25, 2006
St. Mark and Inspiration  

Today is the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. It is through him that we have one of the four precious Gospels which present the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The Gospel he wrote was a product of his relationship with St. Peter. Tradition indicates that he was baptized by St. Peter, and after he came to Rome with St. Peter, he was asked by the church in Rome to write down an account of Jesus' life. Numerous scholars have thought that the structure of the Gospel may take its form from the preaching of St. Peter. In addition, the influence of St. Peter is evident from the details which St. Mark provides regarding our Lord's relationship with the first bishop of Rome. The humility of St. Peter comes through in the accounts that do not hide his flaws and mistakes.

I think it is quite fascinating how God worked through the various writers to produce Sacred Scripture. The various styles and influences of the writers can be discerned even through translations of the Scriptures from the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. And when one can appreciate the original languages, the individuality of the writing is even more pronounced. My limited experience during seminary of translating parts of the New Testament showed me that there is a vast difference between the way that St. Paul and St. Mark write. Translating St. Mark's Gospel was relatively easy compared to struggling to with St. Paul's complex sentence structure. Nonetheless, God used these differences to produce the very message He wanted written.
God is the author of Sacred Scripture. "The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit."

"For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."

God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. "To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more."

The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."

Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word is incarnate and living". If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures." CCC, 105-108
The Catechism expresses very beautifully how this relationship between God and the authors produced Sacred Scripture. Full use of their abilities was made in God's plan to have written the very words God desired. It is certainly a mystery as to how that worked, but it is not without some connection to other mysteries in our lives. God desires the birth of a child, yet He uses the human agents of the child's mother and father to bring the child into the world. Certainly our free will comes into play, but God is so great that He can work in and through our free wills for His purposes. The struggle and the key, it seems to me, is that I strive to cooperate with His purposes in order that He is able to work through me rather than in spite of me.


Posted by David at 8:09 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


Post a Comment