Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
I think that we often wonder “How God Speaks To Us?” In a three part series I will address the Sacred Tradition, the Bible and the Magisterium.
As from the first, God speaks to His Church through the Bible and through Sacred Tradition. To make sure we understand Him, He guides the Church’s teaching authority – the magisterium – so it always interprets the Bible and Tradition accurately. This is the gift of infallibility.
Like the three legs on a stool, the Bible, Tradition, and the magisterium are all necessary for the stability of the Church and to guarantee sound doctrine.
Sacred Tradition (CCC75-83) should not be confused with mere traditions of men, which are more commonly called customs or disciplines. Jesus sometimes condemned customs or disciplines, but only if they were contrary to God’s commands. He never condemned Sacred Tradition, and He didn’t even condemn all human tradition.
[In Mark 7:5-9 we read “And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of me.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition?”]
Sacred Tradition and the Bible are not different or competing revelations. They are two ways that the Church hands on the gospel. Apostolic teachings such as the Trinity, infant baptism, the inerrancy of the Bible, purgatory, and Mary’s perpetual virginity have been most clearly taught though Tradition, although they are also implicitly present in (and not contrary to) the Bible. The Bible itself tells us to hold fast to Tradition, whether it comes to us in written or oral form. [In 2 Thessalonians 2:15 we read “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” We also read in 1 Cor. 11:2 “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.”]
Sacred Tradition should not be confused with customs and disciplines, such as the rosary, priestly celibacy, and not eating meat on Fridays in Lent. These are good and helpful things, but they are not doctrines. Sacred Tradition preserves doctrines first taught by Jesus to the apostles and later passed down to us through the Church, under the leadership of the apostles’ successors, the popes and the bishops. (Pillar of fire-Pillar of truth, Catholic Answers)
Blessings be to all of you,