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FOR BISHOPS

 

 

THOSE UNLEARNED IN THE SCRIPTURES

Many do not have a correct understanding of the words of Scriptures. They must be taught. Otherwise, what is meant to be a healthful drink is turned into a cup of poison that can cause a mortal wound; what is meant to cure destroys instead.

Sacred Scriptures is a lamp in this night of life. If not properly understood, what was meant to be light becomes darkness. One who rushes towards a false understanding is usually motivated by pride; in thinking he knows better than others, he fails to learn from the wisdom of the learned. What is more, to impress others, he tends to discredit those with right understanding. . .like the writings of the Fathers of the Church and the Saints. . .to confirm his perverse views.

Those with right understanding are like souls with child, i.e. they first give birth to love from whence right understanding comes forth. Then this understanding comes to full term and blooms into good deeds.

The proud who rushes towards a wrong understanding is likened unto one "who enlarges his border by ripping the child from the mother," i.e. to enlarge his reputation, he rips out the little correct understanding from  his listeners. The hearts of little ones, already towards right understanding, he destroys with the sword of error. . .and, thus, projects a reputation for knowledge.

Before correcting the errors of such preachers, we must admonish them, first, not to seek vainglory  . . .because that is their defect. For if the roots of pride and vainglory are not cut off, the branches of wrong understanding will not be removed.

He who gives a wrong understanding of Scriptures is, sort of, offering Scriptures as a sacrifice on the altar of Satan that which was established to prevent sacrifices to Satan. This is always a source of error and discord. Scriptures is like corn: the husk obscures the true meaning. By humility, we remove the husk to reveal the grains of right understanding, thus perceiving in the obscure passages, through the interior force of the Spirit, the deeper meaning of the Word.

Those who pervert the meaning of Scriptures are those who offer corn to Baal; what was meant to be words of peace becomes a source of error and discord. Those who preach a perverse interpretation of Scriptures produce discord in his listeners and shall perish, being themselves dead to the words.

St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral Care, Chapter 24, Part III

 

 


 

(12-19-02)

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