Before approaching the history of salvation, I would like invite all of you to attentively read this introduction in order to understand how to read each word and the different episodes in order to have a greater spiritual advantage. The many quotations should not be seen as a show of culture or curiosities but only as a friendly invitation to meditate and deepening at least some of those readings in order to understand that the Old Testament
( O.T.) and New Testament ( N.T.) are not in contradiction but both of them are a preparation and a complementary to the same history of salvation realized during many centuries and NOW available for each one of us.
So the catechist at the end of each lesson should assign to each candidate one reading from the O.T and one from the N.T.to deepen and to share with the others in the next lesson. In doing so the candidates become familiar with the Bible ( B.) language and the catechist has the possibility to explain some unclear points and to understand that through the B.
God is talking to us and is saving us NOW.
So it is very important that each of the candidates has a complete and personal B. to understand the importance, the sacrality and the holiness of this book that we should take and carry with great respect and devotion because God is speaking and teaching to us just NOW
It is also important to invite all the candidates to know how to join the current lesson with the images, figures and responsorial psalms of each Sunday.
because parents, with their examples, are the first catechists of the family and the liturgy is the first communitarian catechesis.
So family, catechesis and liturgy, are only the different moments when God is making himself availible to save each one of us.
Today, computers and smart telephones permit us to see the readings, the images and to contact God at any moment of the day so, before or after the dominical liturgy; we can start to receive Lord’s salvation just using those instruments that the modern technology makes availible.
“My commandments and Word are not in heaven or at the other side of the sea. They are in your heart, so you can put it into practice” Dt.30, 11-14.
With this very simple method I would like to help you to know God and to enjoy using the Bible in order to improve your faith and your love for God. C.C.C.101- 141 ; 129; 131-133. (C.C.C. Catechism of the Catholic Church.)
The O. T. seems to present God, Jahve’ like a holy and jealous God ready to punish to the third and fourth generation.
Gen.20,5 ; Josh.24,19.
God is the Father who forgives for thousands of generations. Gen.20,6. God’s love, is eternal and deeper than the love of wife and husband or the love of the mother for her son. God is a love that never forgets us.
God is like a good mother who takes us in her arms and through cruel stories and holocausts, teaches us not to kill the sinners but the sin only.
Song.1-8 ; Ezek.16,1-63 ; Hos.1-3 ; Is.40,11 ; 46,3-4 ; 49,15-18 ; 50,1-10 ; 61,10 ; 62,4; 66,8-12 ; Deut.1,29-33. Jesus died for us. Jn.18-21
God lovable mother, through visible examples, parables, attractive or horrible stories like holocaust or, famous persons, like, Noah, Abbraham, Moses Kings, Prophets, helps us to touch the infinite and invisible love of God. So the B. cannot be read literally but with the help of the Holy Spirit
who had inspired the human authors ccc.106 in order to understand what God and authors want to teach us. The human authors, through their anthropomorphisms, that is through a very simple and human language of the people of that time.ccc.109, make visible the invisible love of God by telling us the story of creation, revelation, salvation, and his special preference and protection for the poor, widows and orphans.Sir.35, 13-18.
In the N. T. the invisible love of God became visible and touchable in Jesus Christ. Jn.1,1-5 ; 14,1-31 ; 1Jn, 1, 1-4; 2Pt.1,16 and especially in the Eucharist which is the heart, the source and the summit of the Christian life. C.C.C.1211; 1324; 1407. The Eucharist is Sacrament of sacraments. (C.C.C.1322-1419)
The Lectio Divina ( Lego = to choose from the Word of God ) helps us to know that the Word of God that is like fire and hammer that shatters a rock Jer.5,14 ; 20,9 ; 23, 29. Like a fecund rain Is.55, 10-11 or necessary food. Am.8, 11. The Bible is not an historical or scientific book so if we want to understand his spiritual teaching we need the help of the Holy Spirit, the Church, the experts 2Pt.1, 20 and use figures which are useful for correction and help us to see and practice God’s teachings. 2Tim.3, 14-17; 4, 1-2.
Jesus did not write books…He preached only. Mt.4,17.19 ; 11,1 ; 10,7.27.
The Apostles wrote the Gospels… Letters. Ats.1,1-2.
From the fourth to the ninth century there was the problem of iconoclast.
Pope St. Gregory ( 590-604) said : In the churches there are paintings so that people who could not read or write (illiterates about writing… reading… faith…moral… ) could look at the pictures to understand what they cannot read in books.
These pictures enabled the ignorant or unlearned to know what they had to follow. The pictures were like books for them.
So we should not remove these paintings or pictures from churches, as these were painted in order to teach the ignorant and the illiterate.
Through these pictures the illiterates can also ‘read’.
In order to impress the teaching in our memory, is useful to color, in silence and devotion, each picture, so the figure that we are coloring, can become a reality in our life, because God, who created us without us, cannot save us without our cooperation. C.C.C.1847.
So important is not only the reading and meditation of the B. but especially the contemplation, it means, to let God tell us what kind of person we are and what we have to do, to act, to live and to love like Jesus Christ.Phil.2,1-5
This method is only a cue but each person or catechist must find the best way to meet and to give God to others. The figures and the explanation below of the pictures, are only the basis for our personal or community
Lectio Divina that we should do using the many readings mentioned.
We should not rush or read for curiosity but we should meditate the same story slowly and many times and to digest . Ez.3, 1-3; Rv.10, 8-11
until the Word of God becomes the light of our daily life using also meaningful songs and the appropriate Sunday responsorial psalms.
We should never mix the Bible teaching with fables or apocryphal books ( with wisdom newspapers ) but to search the truth that the human authors and God wanted to reveal to us. C.C.C.109
On teaching of the B. it seems that it is useful to use slides, films…
All these mass media if we do not use with cleverness, can transform the teaching of B. and the eternal truth into tales… joyful to see… easy to remember… they can also touch our hear… emotion… but they do not give us enough time to internalize the truth and love of God.
So, it is also a must that we have to use very simple words but theologically correct in order to avoid, in the future, the necessity of dogmatic corrections.
In this method, I have chosen only some significant persons and stories which are like steps of a very long stair that should take us to Jesus.
Jesus is the center of the history of salvation. Prv.8, 22-31; Col.1, 15-20; Phil.2, 5-11; C.C.C.112; 515; 846-849.
Jesus makes visible the invisible and infinite love of the Trinity.Jn.1, 1-18
Now God is carrying on the writing of the Bible through the Church, universal sacrament of salvation. C.C.C.774-6; 780; 849
and through our daily life. So each one of us, should be like the monstrance of God’s love in the society.
I have used this method with children, adults, recollections…
Lectio Divina… It is useful also for our personal and spiritual growth.
So, first of all we have to apply the teaching to ourselves and after that, to the persons whom we are teaching, adapting it according to the age, preparation and requirements of the different audiences.
We must be witnesses, with our life, of what we are teaching.
Acts.2,32 ; 3,15 ; 13,26-33 ; 2Pet.1,16-18 ; 1Jn.1,1-4
The different figures and stories are only the cue that should help us to know God better and to prepare ourselves to receive, at the right time, the different sacraments after reaching the physical and intellectual maturity
( not be bound to the occasions… feasts… scholar age )
and to deepen our faith and begin our transformation in Jesus Christ NOW , and in the future, to enjoy with Him the eternal life.
“ I go to prepare a place for you… After, I shall come again and take you to me, so that where I am you also may be” Jn.14,2-3 ; Lc.22,28-30 ; Rev.3,20-21