By Mary Sayad

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  • Understanding the Bible - Part 3
    Bible References

    Beloved Friends,

    Although I was diligent in preparing the lessons in a timely fashion, posting them became impossible. I wish to apologize for the technical difficulties we were experiencing uploading these past 4 weeks. Attempts to post Part 3 as well as the Annunciation message proved very disappointing But the problems have been resolved and we now may resume.

    I hope that you have a Bible and if you don't own one, at this point you should purchase one either from your parish gift shop or from a Christian store. The New American Bible is the recommended Catholic version. The Bible is an invaluable guide to increasing your faith and a great source of direction for your daily life.

    In order to properly learn the locations of various scriptures in the Bible, we need to learn how to locate the information we may be seeking.

    A comprehensive and very helpful reference for correct Bible understanding is the Bible Encyclopedic Dictionary. The Bible dictionary lists biblical names, topics and definitions of certain themes. Similar to word dictionaries, there is also a pronunciation guide as well as word definitions. The dictionary is located in the back of the Bible.

    Geography buffs will really enjoy using the Index to the Scripture Atlas as well as the Bible Atlas. Because the Bible refers to many lands and towns, there are maps which are arranged according to the various time periods covered in the Bible. While reviewing the Bible Atlas, check to see that the scriptures you are reading correspond with that particular time. Sometimes there will be a map on the opposite page of your scripture reading. The main Bible Atlas is usually located at the back of the Bible following the dictionary.

    The front pages of the Bible contain the Preface and the Dogmatic Constitution of the Divine Revelation. This is an area which contains the presentation from the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council which gives a detailed explanation of the interpretation of the Bible. This section is great reading for people who are determined to understand every ounce of the Bible.

    Also included in the front of the Bible is a very useful section (Table of Content) that lists the Books of the Old Testament and The New Testament and the pages of each book. In addition some Bibles may have an alphabetical listing of the books (I use it frequently).

    Like most published books, the Bible includes the credits given to the Editors-in-Chief, Associate Editors and Translators.

    Practice makes perfect and after a few attempts, maneuvering all the references located within the Bible should become second nature. It's quite easy. Believe me, if I can do it, you can too.

    At this point, I hope that you're ready to open your Bible and continue with me.

    You will notice that most scriptural writings are written like this: Matthew 1:18-24

    If I were quizzing you, I would ask you the title of the Chapter and the subtitle, however, because you won't be tested, here's the answer :

    The title of this chapter looks like this- 1: THE INFANCY NARRATIVE (See # 2 above)

    The subtitle of this particular chapter is CHAPTER 1 - The Geneology of Jesus (See #2 above)

    In addition, for the sake of being thorough, each book in the Bible contains an Introduction which is invaluable in learning more about the Apostle or Prophet (Old Testament) and his writings.

    Most of my research on this subject came directly from the Holy Bible and a Bible handbook. In addition, the pastor of our parish, Fr. Sami Baroody will be reviewing my explanations for verification and accuracy and I thank him for his valued time. Our parish is St. Ann's Melkite Catholic Church.

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    Beloved friends,

    Instead of posting a prayer in this segment, I wish to make some acknowledgements.

    As you may know, the Ray of Hope Foundation is devoted to Our Blessed Mother. The portrait of St. Ann and the very young Blessed Virgin Mary miraculously weeps oil. The purpose of the oil is to honor our Blessed Mother as well and especially to glorify our Heavenly Father. In addition, Our Blessed Mother requests us to pray the rosary daily.

    The oil is miraculous because it is sent from Heaven. Everything that God provides has a reason and a purpose. There are no coincidances in God's plans. In this situation, He is working through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother. God has many mysteries and we are called to accept these mysteries through faith.

    Ray and Nancy have been privileged to share this very precious oil with many people in need of healings ranging from physical, emotional to spiritual. Ray has been experiencing the stigmata since 1999 and the Holy Spirit has worked in him through a variety of physical healings. The healings have occurred according to God's Will.

    In addition to healings, Ray has formed the Ray of Hope Foundation to assist many families with a myriad of needs. All proceeds accrued from donations and fund raisers have been used towards charitable purposes. You may log into the "Letters of Appreciation" to learn more about the foundation's recognitions.

    Ray has valuable helpers to keep the foundation's agendas running smoothly. They volunteer their time, money and energies to promote the foundation for they are servants in charitable works. Everyone administers according to their skills. It wouldn't be fair to mention one name when there are many helpers. They promote the ROHF with pride yet, their compassion is unwavering and their humlility is in accord with our Chrisitanianity. Their names are also available at this website and their efforts and time are highly commendable and appreciated.

    Let us keep all good things in perspective. The ultimate aim of the human mind, in all its efforts, is to become acquainted with Truth. God by definition is Truth and Love. All good things, talents and gifts come from God. The more we thank Him and trust in Him, the more we will be blessed with His graces. This is truly a wonderful point to infuse in your children's and grandchildren's hearts.

    The Holy Bible is God's dialogue with us. When you read about Him in the Bible, He is conversing with you. There is no true happiness outside of God's love.

    Please remember our precious troops and their families and the all hostages in your daily prayers. Remember our untiring clergy in your rosary recitals. Let us continue to pray for peace and for Godly decisions concerning our laws in order to promote the continuence of His blessings on our country. Always include Ray and the Ray of Hope Foundation and staff in your prayers. Yes, besides our personal needs, there are many reasons to pray. Thank you.

    Your companion in prayer,
    Mary

    To be continued......