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Bishop (entered heaven on this day in 441)
Great Catholic literature is a nutritious accompaniment, but the staple of your spiritual reading needs to be the Bible. Only the Bible is inspired and inerrant. It (along with the liturgy) is the fountainhead of all the other great Christian writings; to appreciate them fully and benefit from them properly, you need to be grounded in the Bible. I can tell by your last few notes that you are bringing Evelyn Waugh and St Augustine and Dante into the chapel with you when you make your Eucharistic visits. That’s all well and good, but also bring your Bible, and good Bible commentaries. Trust me, nothing will feed your heart and soul more (besides the Eucharist, of course). As a matter of fact, today’s saint happens to provide an excellent example of the importance of the Sacred Scriptures for the health of the Church.
Mesrop assisted St Isaac the Great in evangelizing the peoples of Armenia and Georgia (the Georgia just south of Russia, not the one south of the Mason-Dixon line), which included laying the groundwork for an Armenian national consciousness and a national literature. Then, when the region was split between the Byzantine and Persian empires, Mesrop retired into solitude, was ordained a priest, and delved deeply into his beloved linguistic studies. Later, however, he heard the Lord calling him back to the mission field, and so he became a missionary to his own Armenian people. His zealous efforts, however, were handicapped because the liturgy and the Scriptures were only available in Syriac. So great was the need to translate them into Armenian that he and a group of scholars dedicated themselves full time to coming up with an Armenian alphabet and translating the texts. The arduous task paid off, and Mesrop was able not only to preach more effectively, but even to set up schools and train native catechists. His work flourished and the Church sunk deep roots into that beautiful land between the Caspian and Black Seas.
Without the availability of Scripture in their native language, the clergy and the people would have been hampered in their pursuit of Christ’s Kingdom. You have no such problem of availability, you just need to activate your faith a bit, and see the Bible as the Word of God that it is.
Your affectionate uncle, Eddy
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