Today is Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s birthday. He’s 89.
If you would like an simple introduction to this thought written for a popular audience, try my Come Meet Jesus: An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI.
This book is centered on Christ as the center of Pope Benedict’s thought and work as theologian and vocation as Pope. It seemed to me that he is “proposing Jesus Christ” both to the world and to the Church. He was about reweaving a tapestry that has been sorely frayed and tattered:
- Offering the Good News to a broken humanity and a suffering world that in Jesus Christ, all of our yearnings and hopes are fulfilled and all of our sins forgiven. We don’t know who we are or why we are here. In Christ, we discover why. But it is more than an intellectual discovery. In Christ – in Christ – we are joined to him, and his love dwells within us, his presence lives and binds us.
- Re-presenting Jesus Christ even to those of us who are members of the Body already. This wise, experienced man has seen how Christians fall. How we forget what the point is. How we unconsciously adopt the call of the world to see our faith has nothing more than a worthy choice of an appealing story that gives us a vague hope because it is meaningful. He is calling us to re-examine our own faith and see how we have been seduced by a view of faith that puts it in the category of “lifestyle choice.”
- Challenging the modern ethos that separates “faith” and “spirituality” from “religion” – an appeal that is made not only to non-believers, but to believers as well, believers who stay away from Church, who neglect or scorn religious devotions and practices, who reject the wisdom of the Church – one cannot have Christ without Church.
And of course, there are the children’s books – still timely, with the typical great quotes that offer the typical B16-ian reassurance and respectful nudge to something more.