|Fr. John administering the Oil of Chrism|
to my Mother in 2014.
I have heard many speak of Christianity as “people of the book”. The phrase, of course, comes from Islam’s reference to us in the earlier parts of the Qur’an. Over the centuries, there are many who have embraced that notion because everything was boiled down to the Bible alone in the 16th century. If it’s not in the Bible, then it can’t be true. We have all heard that sort of argumentation. But are the Muslims right about us? Are we really the people of the book?
|An image from the Gospel Book of Kells|
If a book defines us, then we must learn the book in detail — like a case book of law — if we are to know who we are. We should be able to quote chapter and verse to counter everything around us. If a book defines us, then we are constrained to formalism and law. There is no joy in this because we are then merely subjects of a system of regulations.