Before and After Reading The Holy Scriptures
The two prayers offered are written from a very ancient and particular viewpoint. The writers were great scholars who considered it an inestimable privilege to be able to read and ponder the Sacred Word of God. They considered Christ truly present in the whole Bible and in every word of it. As St. Justin wrote (2nd century) "Not to know the Scriptures was not to know Christ".
They also believed that despite their very advanced learning, they could understand nothing of Sacred Scriptures unless God in his mercy removed the blinkers from their eyes and allowed himself to be revealed to them, culminating in the life death and resurrection of his Son.
Only then could they say with confidence that they possessed him; not as we think of possession, i.e. ownership and under our control, but truly present within us in a way no one, absolutely no one could ever take from us. That is the only thing the saints and martyrs through the ages have ever sought.
Prayer Before Reading The Holy Scriptures
King of Glory and Lord of Hosts who triumphantly ascended the Heavens. Do not leave us as orphans, but send us the Promised of the Father, The Spirit of Truth. We implore you, Lord, that the Consoler who proceeds from you, will enlighten our souls and infuse into them all truth, as your Son has promised.
O God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, grant us in your loving kindness, according to the riches of your glory, that Christ, by faith may dwell in our hearts. Then, rooted and grounded in charity, we may acknowledge the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge.
Through the same Christ our Lord.
(Based on Ephesians 3: 14,17,19)
Prayer After Reading The Holy Scriptures
Let me not, O Lord, be puffed up with worldly wisdom, which passes away, but grant me that love which never slackens, that I may not choose to know anything in this life but Jesus, and him crucified. (1 Cor 13: 8 and 1 Cor 2: 2)
I beg you my Lord Jesus, that those upon whom you have graciously bestowed the sweet savour of the words of your knowledge, may also possess you, Fount of all Wisdom, and shine forever before your countenance.
(Prayer of St Bede the Venerable. Died A D 735)
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