27 May, Saturday — Sacred Tradition: Our Source of Faith

May 27 – Memorial for St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop

St. Augustine (d. 605) was a monk and abbot of St. Andrew’s abbey in Rome. He was sent by Pope Gregory the Great with 40 brother monks, including St. Lawrence of Canterbury, to evangelize the British Isles in 597. Before he reached the islands, terrifying tales of the Celts sent him back to Rome in fear, but Gregory told him he had no choice, so he went. He established and spread the faith throughout England; one of his earliest converts was King AEthelberht, who brought 10,000 of his people into the Church.

He was ordained a bishop in Gaul (modern France) by the Archbishop of Arles. He became Bishop of Canterbury, and was the first Archbishop of Canterbury. He helped re-establish contact between the Celtic and Latin churches, though he could not establish his desired uniformity of liturgy and practices between them. He worked with St. Justus of Canterbury. The Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury are still referred to as occupying the Chair of Augustine.

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Acts 28:16-20,30-31
Jn 21:20-25

There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.

On many occasions, I get asked where in the Bible could we find some of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Having had the gift of struggling with my Faith, I knew how important having the answer to this question is. And the answer is longer than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Our faith is not derived solely from the Bible. What is known as Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone is the source of faith) is not even biblical. What is clearly written in the Bible, as in today’s Gospel reading, is that there were many things that Jesus did — teachings that definitely lead us to God — that are not written. If we think about it, many have not even read the Bible cover to cover, so I think it’s God’s wisdom at work that He did not give us a longer Bible.

If these teachings are not contained in the Bible, where can they be found? Our Catholic Church’s faith is passed down through the Bible, and through Sacred Tradition (Tradition with a capital ‘T’). The interpretation of the Bible and Tradition is done by the Magisterium. Together, these three, with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, ensure a faithful transmission and interpretation of our Faith.

And God provides confirmation to the Traditions we hold as necessary. For example, nowhere in the Bible is it written that Mother Mary was immaculately conceived. This is a Church Tradition that has been believed even in the early church, and was eventually proclaimed as one of the four Marian Dogmas in 1854. This was confirmed by Mother Mary when she referred to herself as the Immaculate Conception to St Bernadette Soubirous in her apparition at Lourdes in 1858.

One thing to note is that Sacred Tradition will in no way contradict the Sacred Scriptures. Tradition helps us understand the Sacred Scriptures better as they provide a guide on how the Scriptures should be read. And our understanding of our Lord, and our Faith as a Church, has grown so much because we have the Scriptures, Tradition, and the Magisterium together.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Lord, please help me have a deeper appreciation of our Tradition.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for providing a means to preserve the truth of your teachings.


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