Wednesday, June 04, 2008

General Audience: On Intellectual Humility

AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito

Pope Benedict continued his catechesis on Pope St. Gregory the Great. From Papa Ratzinger Forum we have this summary of today's General Audience.
Speaking of St. Gregory's use of the Bible, the Pope said "The Bible is not theoretical knowledge but daily food for life in this world," pointing out that St. Gregory was "a passionate reader of the Bible which he read not purely for speculative purposes."

In his homilies, St. Gregory made clear that "to approach Scripture simply to satisfy one's own desire for knowledge means yielding to teh temptation of pride and exposing oneself to the risk of slipping towards heresy."

On the contrary, he said, "intellectual humility is the first rule for whoever seeks to penetrate the supranatural reality that comes from the sacred books....Humility does not exclude serious study, but does make it become spiritually profitable, and therefore it is indispensable... (because) only with intellectual humility can one truly listen and perceive the voice of God."

But one's use of the Bible, said the Pope, must be oriented "not so much towards understanding but towards action".

He also cited St. Gregory's statement that "The preacher should dip his quill into the blood of his heart in order to reach the ear of his listeners."

Benedict XVI pointed out that "Not only the minister of God, but every Christian, has the duty to be a preacher of what he has experienced intimately in fo9llowing the example of Christ who became man to bring to everyone the good news of salvation."

Improvising on his prepared text, the Pope said St. Gregory insisted that the 'only meaning of Sacred Scriptures' was represented by the
'binomials' of 'knowing and doing, talking and living, understanding and acting'.

These binomials are the complementary aspects of human life which, unfortunately, also 'risk becoming antithetical'.

"The ideal moral life," the Pope said, "is to realize a harmonious integration between word and action, reflection and commitment, prayer and the fulfillment of one's duties."

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