form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the
honest truth about Jesus.”
The fourfold Gospel holds a unique place in the Church, as
is evident both in the veneration which the liturgy accords it and in
the surpassing attraction it has exercised on the saints at all times:
There is no doctrine which could be better, more precious
and more splendid than the text of the Gospel. Behold and
retain what our Lord and Master, Christ, has taught by his
words and accomplished by his deeds.
But above all it’s the Gospels that occupy my mind when I’m
at prayer; my poor soul has so many needs, and yet this is
the one thing needful. I’m always finding fresh lights there,
hidden and enthralling meanings.
The unity of the Old and New Testaments
The Church, as early as apostolic times,
and then con-
stantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan
in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God’s
works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accom-
plished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.
Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of
Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the
inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make
us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as
Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself.
Besides, the New
Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian
catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament.
As an old
saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the
Old Testament is unveiled in the New.
Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the
fulfillment of the divine plan when “God [will] be everything to
Nor do the calling of the patriarchs and the exodus
from Egypt, for example, lose their own value in God’s plan, from
the mere fact that they were intermediate stages.
102 St. Caesaria the Younger to St. Richildis and St. Radegunde,
103 St. Thérèse of Lisieux,
107 Cf. St. Augustine,
Quaest. in Hept.
2, 73: PL 34, 623; cf.