Friday, March 4, 2016

Daily Thought For March 4, 2016

The Transforming Power of God's Word

I heard someone give this testimony on a television program in which I was taking part. He was a last-stage alcoholic who could not stop drinking for more than two hours; his family was on the brink of despair. He and his wife were invited to a meeting about the word of God. Someone there read a passage from Scripture. One verse in particular went through him like a ball of fire and gave him the assurance of being healed. After that, every time he was tempted to drink, he would run to open the Bible to that verse, and in rereading the words he felt strength return to him until he was completely healed. When he tried to share what that well-known verse was, his voice broke with emotion. It was the verse from the Song of Songs: “Your love is better than wine” (1:2). Scholars would have turned up their noses at this kind of application of Scripture but—like the man born blind who said to his critics, “I only know that I was blind and now I see” (see Jn 9:10ff)—that man could say, “I was dead and now I have come back to life.”

A similar thing happened to St. Augustine as well. At the height of his battle for chastity, he heard a voice say, “Tolle, lege!” (“Take and read!). Having the letters of St. Paul nearby, he opened the book with the intention of taking the first text he came across as God’s will. It was Romans 13:13ff: “Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.” He writes in his Confessions, “No further wished I to read, nor was there need to do so. Instantly, in truth, at the end of this sentence, as if before a peaceful light streaming into my heart, all the dark shadows of doubt fled away.

Excerpt from Fr. Cantalamessa's 2nd Lenten Homily 2016