Monday, November 21, 2016

Take and Read: St. Augustine

On the front page of the Catholic Times, we have a Korean living in Hong Kong who just finished hand copying the New Testament in four different languages: Korean, Japanese,Chinese, and English. Obviously, the task is not to have another copy of the Scriptures but a work of love and a means to meet God in his word. He is now 71 years old and is thinking of beginning again with a new language.

In copying the Scriptures not once did he ever think of discontinuing and considered it a grace from God. He was baptized while in Hong Kong in his sixties. Hand copying Scripture is writing out each sentence of Scripture by hand. A work which most of us would not be interested.

In the interview with the journalist, he mentioned that he has spent at times over 15 hours a day writing. He found the time to do it and it was not difficult. It took him 3 years to accomplish the task. The different languages all have the same meaning but different nuances were discovered.

His words of advice for those who are interested in beginning are many. Without any preparation, he feels, many will not continue long in their efforts.  Those who want to begin should  read the Scriptures at least twice before beginning.

There are parishes that require the copying of the Gospel of Mark before baptism. Fathers and mothers often give copies of  the books, to the children as a remembrance of what they think is important in life. It's a gift filled with love and meaning, they hope the children will never forget. The copied books become a precious remembrance of their parents.

Starting on the Feast of Christ the King we have the beginning also of Bible Week. This year will be its 32nd year--Nov. 20-26.The theme this year: "The Bible is God's food of mercy." The bishop, head of the committee on Scripture, uses the quote from Luke 6:36: Be merciful as your heavenly father is merciful," as the basis for his comments to the Christians.

With the many study groups in parishes, parishioners copying the Bible, reading articles on the Scriptures in the Catholic press, and spending time with the Scriptures privately the notion that Catholics don't read the Bible is not the reality. 

St. Augustine heard the words: "Take and Read" which brought about his conversion. The Catholics of Korea are taking the Scriptures and reading which will deepen the faith of the Christians and make for a strong and mature Christianity.