“The Word of God has been my joy; the Word of God has been my life”. Dean of Studies of the Catholic Bible Institute (CBI), Deborah ‘Sister Debbie’ de Rosia shared this testimony while addressing the institute’s Sunday of the Word of God event streamed live on Facebook from the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Retreat Centre, Caroni.
The viewing audience included persons from West Africa, United States, Canada, and Australia. The theme was Let the Word of God Find a Home in Your Homes.
The third Sunday of Ordinary Time was instituted by Pope Francis as The Sunday of the Word of God last year with the apostolic letter Aperuit illis issued September 30, 2019.
Delivering a talk on ‘The Joy of the Word of God: Your Word is my delight’, de Rosia shared her journey with the Word from childhood to adulthood. She recalled as a child how her father, an Anglican, often read a scripture passage from his King James Bible when she went to see him in his bedroom. There was also a Bible in the living room. De Rosia said the Word of God has been proven in her life.
“I know what it is to be held up by three gunmen…and for a moment to think that this could be it,” she disclosed. De Rosia and Principal of the CBI, Wendy Ann Jones experienced being confronted by three gunmen. She said there was a name above all other names and only Jesus can save.
“That name saved me from gunshots; that name saved me from death,” she said. De Rosia also described being in a near-death motor vehicle accident overseas while going to a Bible course.
The car she was in got into an accident with another car and trailer truck and as it spun out of control, de Rosia and her travelling companion repeatedly called out, “Jesus”.
She said according to [St Paul’s] Letter to the Hebrews, there is One who sits at the right hand of God and made intercession for people. De Rosia continued: “If I did not know God’s Word, if I didn’t appreciate it and allow that Word to be a part of my life when in a moment of need; I would not have known how to call upon the Word.” She cited John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwells amongst us.”
De Rosia said the Word tells of God’s love and this should be celebrated.
“Many of us are looking for love here and looking for love there, but the Word of God that is our joy…our hope that brings healing to our souls; we hear the Word of God saying to us ‘I love you’. Yahweh God said it.”
As she embraced the God who created her and drew her to Himself, de Rosia said she wanted to find out more and “dug deep into the Word”. She discovered that God was not only her joy but her strength and continues to be her strength.
“As I read, I saw the fascination of God in the person of Jesus Christ because Heaven could not hold back. When man fell, according to Genesis 3, God had another plan. God was coming Himself…”
De Rosia said through the Word, she saw the signs, wonders and miracles He worked and was overjoyed. “Now I knew that I had someone who was not just with me but was in me. Know you not that the Kingdom of God is within you?” She advised that in the kingdom are love, joy, peace, and anything a person could want.
De Rosia encouraged the audience to challenge themselves to read the Word. Not everything will be understood right away however, “little by little” their eyes will be opened. “I discovered when my eyes were open that the joy of my salvation is in Jesus Christ. I discovered my saviour Jesus Christ gave Himself and therefore I too must give myself.”
At the start of her presentation, de Rosia expressed gratitude to Fr Ildefons Schroots OSB and Abbot Bernard Vlaar OSB. She said Fr Schroots began to “open up the scripture” to her and journeyed with the Word of Life Community for five years teaching them holy scripture.
In the 50th year of Catholic Charismatic Renewal she was thankful to the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin who, when approached by Fr Schroots, gave her his blessing for classes to start at the CBI.
Archbishop Jason Gordon delivered a talk on ‘Meditation and Contemplative Prayer: Presentation and Practicum’. Principal of the CBI Wendy Ann Jones gave an opening address highlighting a few points in Aperuit illis.
Workshops were conducted on the topics: ‘The Word of God and Family Prayer’, ‘The call: Jeremiah and Mary of Nazareth’, Praying/Executing the Word of God’, ‘Youth Bible Study’ and ‘The Word of God in Evangelisation’. —LPG
View photos from the event here.