Friday, January 14, 2011

Called to Communion

For those who have never read anything by Pope Benedict XVI (formerly Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger), I would really encourage you to do so. Apart from the fact that he is our Pope, he is also one of the most gifted theologians I have ever read...and that is only after reading two of his books.
The first book of his I read was “Jesus of Nazareth” which covers the life and ministry of our Lord from His baptism to the Transfiguration, and I am already chomping at the bit waiting for the second instalment.
Now I have just finished reading his “Called to Communion”, which he actually wrote before he ascended to the Papacy. For a book that is small and only 165 pages long, it certainly packs a heap of they say – dynamite comes in small packages. Cardinal Ratzinger speaks of the true nature of the Church of Jesus Christ as the One Body of Christ. He then goes on to speak of how that unity / communion flows from the one Eucharist / Holy Communion that we share as the One Church. He also elaborates on the connection with the Primacy of Peter (as the sacrament of unity) and how the particular (local) churches under their respective bishops all form part of this One Universal (i.e. Catholic) Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome. From that flows the essence of the priesthood and how that it relates to the unity of Christ’s Body.
Reading this you might think that this sounds just too theological...but the beauty of how Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI writes is that he has a way of making even difficult theology acceptable to the simplest of us (which is probably why I am actually able to follow it). And I think that the reason his theology is so simple yet profound is because he always brings things back to the most basic foundation of our faith – the Lord Jesus Christ.
So again...if you have never read anything by our Holy Father, I would really encourage you to start. I guarantee that you will be blessed. It is really hard to read his works and not be prompted on to holiness.

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