For a new reading of Dei Verbum - the poetry and the truth of the most beautiful and challenging document of Vatican II
Reflecting on Dei Verbum is tantamount to retracing the entire history of the Second Vatican Council. This Dogmatic Constitution was the subject of debate among the Council Fathers in the early months of the Council, it accompanied their work for the next three years, and was approved almost unanimously at the conclusion of the session on 18 November 1965. Certainly, I do not hesitate to say that we are before the most beautiful and challenging document of the Council. More beautiful, because it was able to combine dogmatic truth, with its precise language often reluctant to let itself be translated into forceful images, with expressions of high poetry. More challenging, because some of its contents come, after centuries of theological debate, clearly expressed highlighting the dogmatic development achieved.
Revelation, which is the foundation and the heart of the Christian faith, was finally to find its place in the life of the Church. The initial words with which the document begins, citing the text of the First Letter of John, make one perceive immediately that it is a fundamental and vital experience. The need then to communicate this real encounter with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, calling us to communion of life with the Trinity, is the heart and pillar of the faith. Dei Verbum immediately states the extraordinary newness that the Son comes to accomplish in the history of mankind. “The Word of God” is not intended here as a generic discussion of the Father, but attests to the definitive event of his intervention in history: the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son. He is the Word who for all time was proclaimed and who now becomes also visible.
Christ in Silence by Odilon Redon 1890