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The Profession of Faith

33

the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“according to the

spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church”

81

).

114

3.

Be attentive to the analogy of faith.

82

By “analogy of faith”

we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and

within the whole plan of Revelation.

The senses of Scripture

115

According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between

two

senses

of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdi-

vided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses. The profound

concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living

reading of Scripture in the Church.

116

The

literal sense

is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scrip-

ture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpreta-

tion: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”

83

117

The

spiritual sense.

Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only

the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks

can be signs.

1. The

allegorical sense.

We can acquire a more profound under-

standing of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the

crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of

Christian Baptism.

84

2. The

moral sense.

The events reported in Scripture ought to lead

us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction.”

85

3. The

anagogical sense

(Greek:

anagoge,

“leading”). We can view

realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us to-

ward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heav-

enly Jerusalem.

86

118

Amedieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:

The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;

The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.

87

119

“It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules,

toward a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of

Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church

81 Origen,

Hom. in Lev.

5, 5: PG 12, 454D.

82 Cf.

Rom

12:6.

83 St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

I, 1, 10,

ad

1.

84 Cf.

1 Cor

10:2.

85

1 Cor

10:11; cf.

Heb

3-4:11.

86 Cf.

Rev

21:1-22:5.

87 Littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, moralis quid agas, quo tendas

anagogia. Augustine of Dacia,

Rotulus pugillaris,

I: ed. A. Walz:

Angelicum 6 (1929) 256.

90

110-114

1101

94