Constitution on Divine Revelation. Solemnly promulgaterd by his Holiness Pope Paul VI on 18 November 1965
How can we know anything about God with certainty? Why should we trust what the Church tells us about God? How do we make sense of the Bible? The answer to these three questions is in this very short document called Dei Verbum.
Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation – Vatican.va
Hearing the word of God with reverence and proclaiming it with faith, the sacred synod takes its direction from these words of St. John: “We announce to you the eternal life which dwelt with the Father and was made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we announce to you, so that you may have fellowship with us and our common fellowship be with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:2-3). Therefore, following in the footsteps of the Council of Trent and of the First Vatican Council, this present council wishes to set forth authentic doctrine on divine revelation and how it is handed on, so that by hearing the message of salvation the whole world may believe, by believing it may hope, and by hoping it may love.
Sr. Hyacinthe Defos Du Rau OP
God Speaks to Us
In this beautiful, short but very rich document the Church helps us to understand that God speaks to us personally. It explains how God speaks to us and why God would want to speak to us. In essence Dei Verbum is about Divine Revelation – how God willed us into being and chose to reveal God’s self to us. At the very heart, the Word of God is given to us. It is not something that the Church did. As Sr. Hyacinthe tells us we have received the Word as a gift. God chose to reveal God’s self to us, to ‘speak to humanity’. He chose to do this in a particular way.
In addition to watching the video you might like to read articles 2-6. It speaks of how God reveals himself to us and desires to speak to us as friends. It is full of hope and joy.
Q1. What strikes you about how Sr. Hyacinthe has introduced this document to us?
Q2. What is your understanding of how God reveals himself to us?
In article 4 we come to know God through Christ before moving onto the role of the Holy Spirit in article 6.
Q1. What did Jesus reveal to us?
Q2. When and where do you hear the voice of God most clearly?
Q3. How does your relationship with God have an impact on how you live your life?
Handing on Divine Revelation
Chapter 2 articles 7-10
Speaking about the second chapter of Dei Verbum, Sr. Hyacinthe reflects on how God comes to us today, over 2000 years since the Word became flesh. She speaks of Tradition and the handing on of faith from the very early Christian community who gathered around Christ. The faith has been handed onto us and we now have a role to play in handing it on to others.
Q1. In what ways is our faith received from others?
Q2. What is your understanding of Tradition and how do you think that this develops over time through the Holy Spirit?
Q3. How do you see faith being handed on to others, especially young people, in your parish? How do you hand on your faith and what support do you get to do this?
The remainder of Dei Verbum in Chapters 3-6 gives us a focus on the role and place of Sacred Scripture in the life of the Church and the life of each one of us.
In the remaining chapters of Dei Verbum, the Church helps us to understand what Scripture is – that it is literally the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and spoken through human words. Sr. Hyacinthe explains how the Bible is made up of many books and written by different authors over many years. Although there are many different genres employed, and we read writing encompassing many different genres, they are still united in one as the Word of God handed to us by the Church. When we read or pray the Sacred Scriptures we are invited to try and understand what kind of text we are reading so that we can discern the meaning that God wants to tell us.
Q1. Having read this section and listened to Sr. Hyacinthe, what do we understand is the best way to read and study Sacred Scripture?
Q2. Thinking of the different genres within the Bible, which Scriptures speak most clearly to your own heart?
Q3. How does Scripture enrich your own life and where in particular, do you meet Christ?
Sr. Hyacinthe finishes with a direct quote from Dei Verbum: For in the Sacred books the Father who is in heaven, meets his children with great love and speaks with them and the force and power of the Word of God is so great, that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her children, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life.
Q.What has your reading or listening taught you that makes you look afresh at the importance of Divine Revelation?
Conclude with a prayer of thanksgiving for the time together.
A Summary of Dei Verbum