Symphony of the Word

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Theme: "a single word expressed in multiple ways."

Project Teams

First Event (July 13-19, 2014)
Romans: Friendship ~ Peter Kreeft
Florentines: Silence and the Word ~ Message for World Communications Day
Celts: G.K. Chesterton: Simplicity in Speech
Carolingians: Seeking Jesus ~ In the Words of Pope John Paul II
Second Event (July 27-August 2, 2014)
Meditatio: Calligraphy ~ The Original Font
Contemplatio: Follow
Third Event (August 10-15, 2014)
Allegro: How to Read the Bible ~ Peter Kreeft

Notes for Teaching

(persistent theme) -- Lectio Divina / Scripture and Liturgy

Sunday -- Silence and Word

Resources: Silence and Word, Verbum Domini n. 66

Monday -- Receiving the Word

  • Reflection -- The primacy of receiving (exercise of receiving the "word" chosen by another)
The Word of God (theological premise) drives the history of the written word (history of writing and books) in the West, ultimately bringing about the culture of communication (video/media creation)
  • Illuminated folio: teach and do calligraphy and alphabets

Tuesday -- Understanding the Word

  • Reflection -- Using the words "Exegesis" and "Hermeneutics"
Simple exegetical exercise with John 1:1-18 using Accordance. Notes about Exegesis
  • Corresponding Lectio steps: Lectio (What does the biblical text say in itself?) and Meditatio (What does the biblical text say to us?)
  • Illuminated folio: teach initials and miniatures; design initial as a "hermeneutical key" to the received text

Wednesday -- Praying with the Word

  • Reflection -- Consuming the Word (Liturgy and Lectio)
Christianity is not a religion of the book, but a religion of the word, the living Word.
It is not enough to understand the word; we must also respond to it, pray with it. Ezekiel and John heard the word, consumed it, and preached it. We are also invited to "eat the scroll."
We are encouraged to participate in communal and personal prayer, in particular, in liturgy and lectio divina (highly recommended in VD).
The Church is a community that hears and proclaims the word of God. ["The liturgy is the privileged setting in which God speaks."]
The word and the Eucharist are deeply bound. (Emmaus)
Resources -- Verbum Domini, Part II; Dei Verbum, Part VI; SC; Scott Hahn books
Verbum Domini: "The liturgy is the privileged setting in which God speaks to us in the midst of our lives; he speaks today to his people, who hear and respond." (n.52)
Dei Verbum: "The Church has always venerated the divine scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God's word and of Christ's body." (n. 21)
Sacrosanctum Concilium: "He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church" (n.7)
  • Corresponding Lectio steps: Meditatio (What does the biblical text say to us?) and Oratio (What do we say to the Lord in response to his word?)
  • Illuminated folio: teach the preparation of parchment; do pencil draft

Thursday -- Living the Word

  • Reflection -- Culture, mission, communication; the “environment” of social media
Actions speak louder than words. Beauty is soul food. Dwell within the bounds set by the Body. Don't garble the message! Learning the language of our audience. The message is one; embodiments of the message are many, within limits.
  • Small group discussion on social media
What social media do you use?
What are your general feelings about it?
What are some positive aspects?
What are some negative aspects?
What are some creative ways to overcome challenges for its use?
  • Corresponding Lectio steps: Contemplatio (What conversion of mind and heart is necessary?) and Actio
  • Illuminated folio: teach manuscripts; do good copy

Friday -- Symphony of the Word

  • Recapitulation
What is a symphony?
The analogy of the "Word of God" (not equivocal but various meanings) -- Logos (1&2) Eternal Word become flesh/ Jesus Christ, Incarnation (3) Liber Naturae in which the word is spoken (4) Word spoken in Salvation History and most fully in the Paschal Mystery (5) Word preached by the apostles (kerygma) and (6) handed on in the Church's living Tradition (7) the word of God attested to in Sacred Scripture
The Body of the Christ is the Living Word of God. The written word aids the living word, but does not and cannot replace it. We are People of the Word, not people of the Book (Carl E. Olson or the Pope). Each member of the Body is sent to "tell the good news." Meditation on Sacrament of Confirmation, which they have probably all received.
The Word is GOD, not just words on a page. All we see is a word of God (natural theology). Everything we know about God's inner life comes from hearing the Word (Trinitarian theology).
  • Illuminated folio: teach bookbinding; do good copy

Saturday -- Symphony of the Word


Working Document

Ecclesial Art Project

Communicating the Word

Before jumping into Illuminated Manuscripts, we presented a brief history of communicating the written word:

  • Scrolls
  • Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Romans invented the codex. It saved space, was portable, and could be easily consulted. Text was arranged in two columns, an element carried over from scrolls (and carried over to printed books).
  • The Christians were the first group to adopt the codex as standard form.
  • Illuminated manuscripts
  • Printed books
  • Gutenberg's Bible
  • Internet


First Week

July Liturgy Meditation
14 St. Kateri Tekawitha

the Word and creation
15 St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor Revelation and salvation history
16 Wednesday, 15th Week

Mt 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

the Incarnation
17 Thursday, 15th Week

Psalm 102

You, O LORD, abide forever,
and your name through all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion,
for it is time to pity her.
For her stones are dear to your servants,
and her dust moves them to pity.

Mt 11:28-30

Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

18 Friday, 15th Week

Mt 12:1-8

I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.
If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
you would not have condemned these innocent men.
For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.

19 Saturday, 15th Week

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

"A single word expressed in multiple ways."

Second Week

July 28 - Aug 2 Liturgy Meditation
28 Lectionary
Mt 13:31-35

I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.

Primacy of Receiving
29 Memorial of Saint Martha
Jn 11:19-27

Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

Understanding the Word
30 Lectionary
Mt 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

Praying with the Word
31 Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (!)
Jer 18

This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Rise up, be off to the potter’s house;
there I will give you my message.
I went down to the potter’s house and there he was,
working at the wheel.
Whenever the object of clay which he was making
turned out badly in his hand,
he tried again,
making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
Can I not do to you, house of Israel,
as this potter has done? says the LORD.
Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter,
so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

Living the Word
1 Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Mt 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.
They were astonished and said,
“Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?
Is he not the carpenter’s son?

Symphony of the Word
2 Lectionary
Jer 26

Listen to the voice of the LORD your God,
so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.
As for me, I am in your hands;
do with me what you think good and right.
But mark well: if you put me to death,
it is innocent blood you bring on yourselves,
on this city and its citizens.
For in truth it was the LORD who sent me to you,
to speak all these things for you to hear.”

"A single word expressed in multiple ways."

Third Week

Aug 11-16 Liturgy Meditation
11 Memorial of St. Clare
12 Tuesday, 19th Week in OT
Ezekiel 3:1-4

He said to me: Son of man, eat what is before you;
eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel.
So I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Son of man, he then said to me,
feed your belly and fill your stomach
with this scroll I am giving you.
I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
He said: Son of man, go now to the house of Israel,
and speak my words to them.

13 Wednesday, 19th Week in OT
14 Memorial of Saint Maximilian Kolbe
15 Solemnity of the Assumption


Old Testament

Is 45

I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I have not spoken from hiding
nor from some dark place of the earth,
And I have not said to the descendants of Jacob,
“Look for me in an empty waste.”
I, the Lord, promise justice,
I foretell what is right. ...

By myself I swear,
uttering my just decree
and my unalterable word:

To me every knee shall bend;
by me every tongue shall swear,
Saying, “Only in the Lord
are just deeds and power.

Jeremiah 15:16

When I found your words, I devoured them;
they became my joy and the happiness of my heart,
Because I bore your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.

Ezekiel 3:1-4

He said to me: Son of man, eat what you find here: eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Son of man, he said to me, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. Then he said to me, Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them.

New Testament

1 Jn 1:1-4

1 What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life—

2 for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—

3 what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

4 We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

Revelation 10:9-11

9 So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.” 10 I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it. In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then someone said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Additional Notes on the Theme


Section 7 of Verbum Domini:
  1. the Word and Creation
  2. Revelation and Salvation History
  3. Incarnation
  4. Tradition
  5. Scripture
Three Parts of Verbum Domini:
  1. Verbum Dei
    1. Creation
    2. Tradition and Scripture
    3. Incarnation
  2. Verbum in Ecclesia
    1. Scripture and liturgy
    2. Lectio Divina
  3. Verbum Mundo
    1. Mission
    2. Culture
    3. Communication


The Word of God is accessible.

God accommodates Himself to our understanding.

We cannot reach Him; He can reach us.

Feast of Pentecost: The Word of God is not confined to any sacred language (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek). God speaks all of our languages. The Good News of the Word-made-flesh is for all of God's children!

The Word can never be put fully into words. The Word is a "Who," not a "what."

The Father sings the Son in the Spirit from eternity to eternity.

As with us, so with the Father: no breath, no word. The Spirit is in the Word; the Word is in the Spirit; the Spirit and the Word remain in the Father even as they go forth to create and re-create the world.

Kenosis is in the life of the Trinity before there is a world for the Word to enter.

"Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who have ears to hear will hear."

Faith comes by hearing.

My favorite work of Rahner--before he became Rahner: Hearers of the Word. That's us! We take God at his Word.

The Father speaks no words that are only words. The glory of Creation is how the Father says, "I love you." The death of God the Son on the Cross is how the Father says, "I forgive you."

Some Symphonies