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 CNS Story:

SYNOD-MEMORIZE Oct-9-2008 (310 words) xxxi

Korean bishop promotes learning Bible readings by heart

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- For the past 18 years, South Korean Bishop Vincent Ri Pyung-ho has been memorizing the biblical texts used at Mass each day.

He believes anyone preaching at Mass should do the same.

"As far as I know, this is the way Jesus preached the word of God," the 67-year-old bishop of Jeonju, South Korea, told the world Synod of Bishops Oct. 9.

Even more than "memorizing the Scriptures," the bishop suggested "Bible by hearting." Using Mary as his model, Bishop Ri recalled that the Bible says she kept everything God had told her and done for her, "pondering them in her heart."

"Pondering means that she repeated (the word of God) in her heart for a long time until the meaning of it became clear," he said. "In this sense, she made her heart into a library of the word."

Bishop Ri said he began memorizing the day's Bible readings when he was ordained a bishop in 1990 and that he has had good results from allowing Bible passages to sit in his heart before trying to preach about them.

He quoted the French missionary Father Lucien Legrand, who said Catholics, unlike Protestants, do not memorize the Bible, and when they preach they talk about a theme rather than the day's Bible passage.

"Jesus, the great storyteller, is made to speak in the tedious tone of poor moralizing or lifeless dissertation," the bishop quoted Father Legrand as saying.

Bishop Ri said a good first step would be "to incorporate a certain amount of Bible by hearting in the formation program of future and present priests."

With the word of God ready on the lips and in the hearts of the church's preachers, he said, "the church will surely have a new springtime."


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