In Images of Hope: Meditations on Major Feasts, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) masterfully weaves together Scripture, history, literature and theology as he reflects on major feasts of the liturgical calendar. In each chapter, he examines works of sacred art that illustrate the hope we celebrate in our most important Christian holy days.
What do the humble ox and ass at the manger of the Christ Child tell us about Christmas? In an icon of Christ’s Ascension, what do the Savior’s hands held in blessing promise us? What is the meaning of the sword held by the great statue of Saint Paul before the Roman church that bears his name?
These and many other questions are explored with depth and sensitivity in this collection of meditations by the man who became Pope Benedict XVI. Several beautiful colored images of the relevant paintings, mosaics and sculptures accompany the rich and detailed text.
What It Means to be a Christian
Ignatius Press (June 20, 2006).
Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, writes eloquently and persuasively about how one can live as a serious Christian in today’s secular world. He talks in depth about the true meaning of faith, hope, and love–the love of God and the love of neighbor. He also discusses at length the crucial importance of a lived faith, for the believer himself as well as being a witness for our age, and striving to bring faith in line with the present age that has veered off into rampant secularism and materialism. He passionately encourages the reader to practice a deep, abiding Christian faith that seeks to be at the service of humanity.
As Joseph Ratzinger mentions in the preface, “the book presents in written form three sermons that the author preached in the Cathedral at Muenster to a congregation from the Catholic Student Chaplaincy, December 13-15, 1964.”
In other words, these are essays derived from sermons preached to college students toward the end of Vatican II. They are remarkable, among other reasons, for their insights into the ongoing Christian struggle to understand and realize in action “what it means to be a Christian”.