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There’s more to the Bible than reading

In an upcoming talk, author and theologian Brant Pitre, Ph.D., will help Catholics integrate the Word of God into their spiritual lives by not only reading Scripture, but by “praying it” as well.

“I think the prayerful reading of sacred Scripture hasn’t clearly moved to the center of the spiritual life for many Catholics,” Pitre told the Denver Catholic Register from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans where he is a professor of sacred Scripture. “Some Catholics think: ‘Reading the Bible? That’s what Protestants do.’”

At the next installment of the Archbishop’s Lecture Series 7 p.m. March 18, Pitre will demonstrate how the Church has emphasized the practice of praying with Scripture from the 1965 closing the Second Vatican Council through today as revealed in the preaching of Pope Francis.

His talk “The Bible and the Spiritual Life: Lectio Divina from Vatican II to Pope Francis” is the third in a four-part lecture series covering principle documents of Vatican II; this one highlighting “Dei Verbum” (“Word of God”). Prayerful reading of the Bible, also known as Lectio Divina (“divine reading”), has continued to be taught by popes since Vatican II, particularly by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

“It’s fascinating; Pope Benedict was the first pope who actually laid out the steps for how to practice Lectio Divina,” Pitre said referring to the former pontiff’s 2010 apostolic exhortation “Verbum Domini” (the “Word of the Lord”) where in addition to laying out the steps, he charged that the practice was not only for priests, nuns or consecrated, but for all the lay faithful.

Fast forward to Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope.

“As the first Jesuit pope, Lectio Divina has always been something that’s important to him,” Pitre said “In Jesuit formation it is central, as it was a central practice of (St. Ignatius) Loyola (founder of the Jesuits).”

Pope Francis has taken the baton from Vatican II and Benedict XVI, Pitre said.

“He is really focusing, in his pontificate, on the prayerful reading of sacred Scripture,” he continued, “primarily by modeling it for us in his homilies. If you’ve read any of his homilies, you know that they’re dripping with Scripture, they’re saturated in the Bible.”

Pitre’s lecture—designed for priests, religious, seminarians, laypeople, catechists, anyone involved in ministry, and anyone interested in deepening their prayer life—will show attendees how to pray with Scripture and give practical examples.

“I think Pope Francis recognizes that the new evangelization is going to have to be motivated by people that are motivated by the word of God,” Pitre said. “He’s charging us all to become more familiar with Scripture as an essential part of the new evangelization.”

Pitre, who holds a doctorate in theology from the University of Notre Dame, is the author of several articles and books including “Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told” to be released March 11. He has produced dozens of Bible studies and lives in Gray, La., with his wife and their five children.

The four-part series on Vatican II constitutions will wrap up April 8 when Augustine Institute professor Douglas Bushman, S.T.L. will speak on “Gaudium et Spes,” the longest and most visionary of the documents that looks at the Church and her mission in the world.

Both lectures will be held in Bonfils Hall on the John Paul II Center campus at 1300 S. Steele St. Advance registration is not needed, seating is first-come, first-served. For more information, call 303-715-3230 or email bethany.doss@archden.org.

Julie Filby: 303-715-3123; julie.filby@archden.org; www.twitter.com/DCRegisterJulie

Archbishop’s Lecture Series

“The Bible and the Spiritual Life: Lectio Divina from Vatican II to Pope Francis”
Featuring: Brant Pitre, professor, author and theologian
When: 7 p.m. March 18
Where: Bonfils Hall, John Paul II Center, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver
Questions: 303-715-3230 or bethany.doss@archden.org

Next up in the series
Speaker: Professor Douglas Bushman, S.T.L.
Topic: “Gaudium et Spes,” the Church and her mission in the world
When: 7 p.m. April 8
Where: Bonfils Hall, John Paul II Center, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver

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