In paragraph 116 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read "The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: 'All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.'"
The literal sense is not necessarily the word-for-word meaning of the text. The context, the writing style, the epoch, the subject, and the whole of Scripture in the Tradition of the Church must be taken into consideration to properly understand what the text is saying.
The literal sense tells us that Scripture cannot explain itself. Find out why.
The literal sense tells us that the Sacred authors used images, euphemisms, hyperbolae, metaphors, and idioms, just like us. Taken literally, these devices lead to absurd interpretations.