THOSE UNLEARNED IN THE
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
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