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Take scripture on holiday, says Pope

By on Friday, 29 July 2011

Benedict XVI leads the Angelus prayer at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday (CNS photo/ Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Benedict XVI leads the Angelus prayer at Castel Gandolfo on Sunday (CNS photo/ Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI has advised holidaymakers to pack a copy of Sacred Scripture in an address to pilgrims at Castel Gandolfo, his summer residence.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said the Pope had made “brief but important [holiday] suggestions” to pilgrims over the past few weeks.

His suggestion to “include a copy of the Sacred Scriptures in our suitcase” follows on from his call last year for Catholics to become more familiar with the Bible.

Speaking to Vatican Television, Fr Lombardi said: “First of all, [the Pope] invited those of us who can, to use our vacation time in a way that helps renew our relationships with others and with God. Interrupting the hectic and frantic pace of daily life, we can take time to dedicate ourselves to others and to God.

“The Pope even suggested we include a copy of the Sacred Scriptures in our suitcase. He also invited us to contemplate the greatness, and admire the beauty, of creation around us, recognising in it the wonderful presence of the Creator.

“He knew how to interpret the language and signs of Creation, which is a gift we must respect, protect and care for, in the name of God, humanity and future generations.”

“Finally, Pope Benedict suggested that pilgrims and travellers apply their intelligence and curiosity to discovering the monuments of the past – witnesses of culture and faith, as he called them, examples of our spiritual roots and heritage,” Fr Lombardi reported.

“Cathedral and abbeys, in particular, are places where beauty helps us feel the presence of God and inspires us to pray for the rest of humanity, on its pilgrimage through the Third Millennium.

“The enjoyment of friendship, reading, nature and culture helps to nourish and restore our spirit. It gives us the strength to continue our journey refreshed and renewed.”

Last year Pope Benedict underlined a similar message of using the summer to grow closer to God.

He discussed the Gospel where Jesus visited Martha and Mary, saying: “This Gospel passage is very important at vacation time, because it recalls the fact that the human person must work, must involve himself in domestic and professional concerns, to be sure, but he has need of God before all else, who is the interior light of love and truth.”

  • Aidan Coyle

    That sounds like a great suggestion. OK, so relatively few people may actually act on it and include a Bible amid their holiday reading but, if a few implement the papal message, the implications for them could be considerable, provided they have time on holiday to engage reflectively with scripture and encounter the Saviour (Mark’s gospel would be ideal for this, given its conciseness and – at one level – its simplicity). However, I’m also mindful of how frenetic holidays can be for some parents as they ensure that their children are kept safe and entertained so reflective space may be in short supply! 

  • FSSP Catholic

    I always take a Bible with me when I travel.  I don’t read it as much as I should, but I would never travel without it. 

  • Michael Kenny

    Sounds like a good idea — 

  • Parasum

    I wonder what versions of the Bible he uses for private reading…

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    I think many people are put off by the ancient language used in the Bible. Also the imagery of ‘kingdom’ and language of “God’s Kingdom” seem archaic. This may put people off. Perhaps a more modern, philosophical formulation of Christianity would be welcome for some who have this problem.

  • AnAnonymousCoward

    I meant formulation of the LANGUAGE not of Christianity itself, which is timeless.

  • Aidan Coyle

    I can see your point alright. There are versions rendered in contemporary idiom that could provide a good ‘route in’ for people who aren’t already familiar with scriptural discourse. I know it won’t be to everyone’s taste (and some expressions used in it make me wince) but Jim Henson’s rendition of much of the New Testament (entitled ‘Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures’) conveys the New Testament message with a sometimes startling freshness and immediacy. Even those steeped in scripture like me can find that its contemporary vividness breathes new life into familiar text.

  • Aisake

    It sound good and we should make it a habit and addict to that way of life by reading the scared scriptures and take it with us.

  • Aisake

    The main reason why we Catholics are too behind on the scriptures is that the conservative method the Church use as to avoid  the abuse of the scared scriptures. The Protestants is ahead of us in this aspects but this had lead to more division as Churches has accused each other and discriminate one another of style of worship, the name etc and this cause Division rather than Union. It has been a great disappointed than we Christian tells the world to unite but even Christian can’t do so. The Lord said it begins at Jerusalem and then to Judea, begins to us Christian then to other people 

  • tommo

    Wonderful advice. God Bless the Holy Father. 

  • Aidan Coyle

    OK, so we shouldn’t be surprised but, under ‘Today’s Catholic must reads’, we learn that the Holy Father has provided some first-rate suggestions about specific books of the Bible that may be of particular interest: see It’s wonderful to have him share with us these insights that are based on a life-time of immersion in and prayerful pondering of the Bible. I wonder if he has heard of the novel, ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’, which must have led many people to engage with the Book of Tobit for the first time.

  • Aisake

    God Bless Pope Benedict the 16th and may he lead the flocks of Christ in the way the Lord wants. May the Lord give him good health and long life to serve his people in direction of True Love, Kindness, justice and peace

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