Know in order to love
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Recently Rev. Prof. Henryk Witczyk, Catholic University of Lublin, has visited the editorial board of 'Niedziela'. He presented a new, very important, pastoral initiative, which is the John Paul II Bible Work. It is the initiative of the Polish Bishops' Conference, aiming at deepening the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures in Polish dioceses and work on the biblical culture in pastoral ministry. We know that there are similar works in other European countries. The German Bibelwerk is well known. But the objective of the German Bibelwerk concerns publishing the Bible. In Poland people can easily get a copy of the Bible and every family is said to have this Holy Book. We mean the Millennium edition of the Bible [Biblia Tysiaclecia]. But it turns out that only some part of Polish families has got a copy of the Holy Scriptures and moreover, we use it a little and it is present in our Christian lives only to a limited extent. And yet this is the fundamental book of faith. We get to know the revelation from the Bible. It proclaims the truth about God. It also contains numerous examples from the history of Israel. God used the examples to reveal his will.
The Association 'John Paul II Bible Work' is to deal with preparing biblical commentaries, taking into consideration our pastoral needs, mainly in the field of religious instruction and the practice of lectio divina, i.e. reading the Holy Scriptures; organising conferences, meetings, workshops, courses, symposia, conversatoria, days of reflection and retreats; organising bigger forms like congresses, exhibitions and contests; co-operation with Catholic centres of biblical pastoral ministry, with individuals and institutions promoting knowledge of the Bible in the media and publishing books on the Bible as well as working with organisers of pilgrimages to the Holy Land; co-operation with schools, Catholic institutions of higher education and Christianity-oriented scientific associations; keeping the web page of the Association, which would include such elements as school of the Word of God, frequently asked questions, information about new books on biblical-theological issues; courses concerning biblical languages and other biblical sciences as well as publishing activities. Therefore, the scope of these activities is very wide.
In Poland we are a little bit behind other countries as far as understanding of the meaning of the Revelation is concerned. Other countries are in a far better situation. We often meet Jehovah witnesses who study the Bible and interpret it in their own way, and we often feel lost because we do not know the Bible well. It is not enough to buy a beautiful edition of the Bible and put it on a shelf. We should read and study it.
Therefore, it is an excellent idea - to get to know the Holy Scriptures. It will allow us to reflect on God's word and God's law. The man who knows the Bible very well is in some way a different Christian. Although we know the content of the Bible from homilies or preaching it is the Sacred Book itself that constitutes the deepest level on which we base our religious lives. The Christian who reads the Bible has a solid, firm faith and knows why he believes and he knows that the word of God is different from all human words.
Therefore, I am very glad that this work has been started. It will be the work of the whole Church in Poland, the work of particular dioceses. Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak of Czestochowa has already nominated two priests - moderators for the Bible Work in our diocese. 'Niedziela' will also want to be involved in this initiative, supporting the efforts of the responsible people in the diocese and all over Poland. It is with joy that we develop this valuable co-operation because the Bible Work serves our faith and religiosity in the most profound way; it serves our getting to know God and our love for him. What can be more wonderful in our lives than loving God?
The Patron of the Work is John Paul II who did so much for the new evangelization. We will work 'under his name' and refer to his speeches, which were so full of biblical verses. He was called the missionary of the world, the main evangelizator because he really tried to carry the Good News to all peoples and nations. We hope that under such a patronage the Work will serve to develop the spiritual lives of the Polish people.