Tuesday, 28 June 2022

The World of Marian Apparitions - Wincenty Laszewski - Mary's Appearances and Messages from Fatima to Today

The World of Marian Apparitions: 
Mary's Appearances and Messages from Fatima to Today
Sophia Institute Press
ISBN 9781644132029
ASIN 9781644132036

First this was an amazing read. A stunning book, full of photo’s, information boxes and well researched text. Wincenty Łaszewski, has written an incredible volume. And for the most part I thought it was excellent. I have a few concerns but will share them later. 

This is an English edition of, Świat Maryjnych Objawień, originally published in Polish and a fourth edition is releasing in 2022. This edition is based on the third edition published in 2020. Lately I have found several wonderful authors who publish in their native Polish, for example Father Jan Twardowski and Father Andrzej Muszala, and find that too few of their works are available in English.

The chapters are:


ROME 1884 - A Vision of the Church’s Future
SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO 1911 - Padre Pio’s Laughing Madonna
ALJUSTREL 1913 - Little Lúcia’s Madonna
FATIMA 1917 - The Message of Fatima
BASEL 1917 - A Mystical Wound
RADZYMIN 1920 - The Anti-Bolshevik Mother of God
FATIMA 1921 - Mother of Obedience
FATIMA 1921 - The Seventh Fatima Apparition
PONTEVEDRA 1925 - The Contemplative Mother of God
TUI, SPAIN 1929 - Patroness of Russia’s Conversion
ŁAGIEWNIKI, VILNIUS, AND PŁOCK 1930s - Intercessor for Mercy
BEAURAING 1932 - Madonna with the Golden Heart
BANNEUX 1933 - Our Lady of the Poor
HEEDE 1937 - Queen of the Poor Souls in Purgatory
SIEKIERKI 1943 - Holy Mother, Teacher of Youth
BALAZAR 1944–1955 - Mother of Light
GHIAIE DI BONATE 1944 - Queen of Families
TURZA ŚLĄSKA 1945 - Sorrowful Mother of the Battlefield
L’ÎLE-BOUCHARD 1947 - The Mother at the Annunciation
TRE FONTANE 1947 - Virgin of Revelation
MONTICHIARI 1947 - Mystical Rose
LIPA 1948 - Mediatrix of All Graces
WARSAW 1948 - Dispenser of Divine Omnipotence
NGOME 1955 - Mary, Tabernacle of the Most High
ROME CITY 1956–1959 - Our Lady of America
ERD 1961–1981 - Flame of the Immaculate Heart
ZEITOUN 1968 - Silent Lady
FATIMA 1972 - The Apocalyptic Heart of Mary
AKITA 1973 - Apocalyptic Madonna
BETANIA 1976 - Mother of Peace and Unity
DEIR EL-AHMAR 1976 - Our Lady of Lebanon
CUAPA 1980 - Mother of Sinners
MEDJUGORJE 1981 - Queen of Peace
KIBEHO 1981 - Mother of the Word
SAN NICOLÁS 1983–1990 - Our Lady of the Rosary
ASDEE, IRELAND 1985 - Madonnas in Motion
MANILA 1986 - The Lady Who Commands Soldiers
BELPASSO 1986 - The Immaculate Heart of the Queen of Peace
YAGMA AND LOUDA 1986 - Lady of Assumption, Mother of Peace
HRUSHIV 1987 - Madonna of Kiev
UNITED STATES 1987 - Harbinger of Change
KUREŠČEK 1989–1999 - Queen of Peace
LITMANOVA 1990–1995 - The Immaculate Purity
AOKPE 1992 - Mediatrix of All Graces
IRELAND 2003 - A Beacon for Our Times
MEXICO CITY 2007 - A Strange Light
WARRAQ 2009 - Royal Virgin of Giza
TREVIGNANO ROMANO 2014 - Apocalyptic Protector

The book is stunning, each of the apparitions cover span from 2 pages to 14 pages, and a number of them are either 10 or 12. They begin with a spanned two page image of the location and contain Name, Dates, and symbols as code for status of the apparition. Those symbols are one of 9 they are:

An apparition recognized by the Vatican
A visionary recognized as a saint, blessed, venerable, or servant of God
The pope visited the apparition site and/or gave it special privileges
An apparition recognized by the local bishop
An imprimatur or nihil obstat granted to the texts of the revelation
Devotion recognized at the apparition site
Unusual miracles at the apparition site
An apparition recognized by the Coptic Church
An apparition accepted by belief of pilgrims

The world map has the following Symbols:

Recognized by the Vatican after bishop approval
Approved by local bishop
Unconfirmed as supernatural
Marian apparitions to future saints

It is almost information overload. I read the volume over a couple of weeks. Sometimes stopping after one apparition and sometimes reading a few. I cannot help but wonder what some of the updates in the new 2022, 4th Polish Edition will include, and if anything is being dropped. My first concern is related to two sites, one omitted in this volume, Knock Ireland, and Medjugorje. When it comes to Marian apparitions most of us have a few favourites. Knock is one of mine, and the first thing I did was check the table of contents, and honestly was a little disappointed when it was omitted. Second the author hints at controversy around  Medjugorje, which started when I was still in high school and hit a peak of popularity when I was in University. I have read much about this site, and my personal feelings have changed a lot over the years, I am currently working Medjugorje Complete: The Definitive Account of the Visions and Visionaries by Donal Anthony Foley. The author of this work does not go into some of the controversies around this site and the visionaries and seems to gloss over it. It seems very unbiased, especially considering I understand that both Saint John Paul II and Emiratis Pope Benedict XVI have had serious concerns about the site and messages. 

My second concern is the eBook edition. I have a dual form of dyslexia and usually prefer eBooks. I did purchase the eBook for this direct from the publisher, as there is no Kindle edition, the formatting was horrendous. The file is almost 90 MB in size, I tried reading it through a few eBook readers on my PC (FB Reader, Calibre, Kobo for PC), and even Google Play on the Web and it was terribly painful. And it was even worse on a tablet. I gave up on the digital edition and purchased a physical copy. In this case the eBook was more of a hindrance than a help. 

That being said this is a wonderful volume. I believe it is the only one by Wincenty Laszewski available in English currently. We are informed on the Sophia Institute site that:

“Polish theologian, doctor of dogmatic theology, writer and translator. Author of many books devoted to Our Lady , especially Marian apparitions. Member of the World Apostolate of Fatima. In his publications, he deals mainly with the history of Marian devotion in Europe and with apparitions taking place in various places around the world. He looks for connections between revelations and contemporary history.”
Part of the description of this volume is:

“The world-changing appearance of Our Lady at Fatima ushered in a continuing series of remarkable apparitions worldwide that the Church has either officially approved or marked as likely-authentic. Author and Mariologist Wincenty Laszewski summarizes the powerful and urgent messages of these apparitions in this unparalleled, encyclopedic work-instantly the new standard on the subject. Most of these riveting chapters include portentous warnings - some are ominous, others more hopeful. This stunning book serves as a wake-up call to the faithful and is a worldwide clarion call to deeper prayer and conversion. It includes:

     • Over 400 pages describing the fully documented miracles and visions
     • Fascinating accounts by eyewitnesses, including non-believers
     • 50+ maps of locations and pilgrimage sites
     • Photos and illustrations: documents, events, and faces of the visionaries
     • The finest works of art and reproductions of Our Lady

Each message and appearance is analyzed and quoted precisely. Their sheer abundance is enough to absorb believing Catholics-and many a skeptic-from all walks of life and reading habits.”

And I agree. This is a magnificent volume, great for any home, school or church library. With how many books I read a year I tend not to keep many physical books, this is one that will stay on my shelf, at least until the next edition comes out in English. A great read for all Catholics!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Wincenty Laszewski:
In English:

In Polish:
Apokalipsa wedlug Fatimy
Boży szaleńcy
Cuda Maryi w życiu Jana Pawła II
Cudowny medalik. Klucz do skarbnicy Ĺ ask
Czwarty wizjoner z Fatimy
Duchowa misja Polski
Ewangelia Zwycięstwa wedĹ‚ug Jana PawĹ‚a II
Fatima Stuletnia tajemnica
Ilustrowany przewodnik po Fatimie
Miłosierdzie Boże Droga krzyżowa
Modlitwy zatroskanych o Polskę
NaboĹźeĹ„stwo Pięciu Pierwszych SobĂłt Miesiąca
Nadchodzi kres: Mistyczne wizje końca świata
Największa tajemnica Guadalupe
Niewidzialna wojna
Nowy lepszy świat
Opowiem Ci o Guadalupe
Rewolucja Maryi: Opowieść o Niepokalanym Sercu
Stefan Błogosławiony Wyszyński
Swiat Maryjnych Objawien
Totus Tuus - Tota Tua
Wszystko o różańcu który może wszystko
Zwycięstwa z pomocą nieba

Monday, 27 June 2022

Run - Andrew Grant

Paul McGrath Book 1
aka Andrew Child
ISBN 9780345540737
eISBN 9780345540744

This is the sixth volume from Andrew Grant that I have read. I believe it is his only stand along work. I have read two he co-wrote with his brother, Lee Child, under the name Andrew Child, and also the first in each of his three series. When I started reading his works I was not sure if I would read each series sequentially or in parallel. It has worked out that I am reading them in parallel, and tucked this one in as the sole stand alone work. He has not published any book under this name in the last 2 years since he started co-authoring the Jack Reacher books. Grant has contributions to two anthologies. He has also contributed to one anthology as Andrew Child. I picked a few of his books after reading Even. This one is fairly different than most of his other works.

The description of this book is:

“Marc Bowman, a highly successful computer consultant and software designer, walks into his job at a major tech company one morning only to find himself fired on the spot, stonewalled by his boss, and ushered out of the building. Then things get worse: An explosive argument drives his wife away and a robbery threatens to yank a million-dollar idea—and his whole future—out from under him. In a matter of hours, Marc has gone from having it all to being sucker-punched by fate. But it’s only Monday, and before the week is over, he’ll be stalked, ambushed, wiretapped, arrested, duped, double- and triple-crossed—until he can’t tell enemies from allies.

Suddenly, the only thing standing between him and the wrath of everyone from the FBI to Homeland Security to his desperate ex-bosses is a flash drive full of data that might just be the holy grail of high-tech secrets—and a holy terror in the wrong hands. Now, as the gloves come off and the guns come out, turning back is hopeless and giving up is madness. The only person left for Marc to trust is himself. And the only thing left to do is keep running—or end up a dead man walking.”

I had not read the description before starting the book. An author friend calls me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find authors I like I tend to read everything they have publish. For example I read the first 23 Reacher novels in under a year, after reading the first. Grant’s writing is excellent and this one has quite a few surprises and twists. The story is really fun. As someone who works in IT I greatly enjoyed the Cyber elements in the story. I have had several co-workers that or reflected in Marc Bowman. In personality, heads down focus, and trying to solve the problem no matter the cost. And also Marc’s fascination with an lesser known artist. Marc is stuck between a rock and a hard place, several hard places to be exact, Homeland Security, Local Law Enforcement, Fake Homeland, Thugs. And to make matters worse his wife seems to be choosing her boss and company over him. But maybe he is looking through everything with the wrong lenses. And his assumptions about who is who and the reason for their actions might all be wrong. 

This story was a race from start to finish. And it hammers home the message of never push a man who has nothing to lose. Some of the twists were magnificently written. The action was high octane. The story was a very fun read. In some ways there are echoes of the movie Hackers. But with much higher risk and maybe rewards. And the ending it was hilarious, pure gold! 

I read this book over a few sittings over two days it was very hard to put down. It is another excellent read from the masterful pen of Andrew Grant. If you love a good crime, suspense, thriller with great action this is a book for you. I am certain fans of Reacher, Bourne, Jack Ryan could all appreciate Bowman and how he gets the job done. It is a great read from Grant’s pen! 

Books by Andrew Grant:

David Trevellyan Series:
Die Twice
More Harm Than Good

Detective Cooper Devereaux Series:
False Friend
False Witness

Paul McGrath Series:
Too Close to Home

As Andrew Child with Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Series:
No Plan B

Books Andrew Grant Contributed To:
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes
Murder and Mayhem in Muskego
Hotel California Music and Murder Mystery 1

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Father Damien And The Bells - Arthur and Elizabeth Sheehan and Leonard Everett Fisher

Father Damien And The Bells
Arthur and Elizabeth Sheehan
Leonard Everett Fisher (Illustrator)
Vision Books
ISBN  9781586170332

This book is part of the Vision Books Biographies now published by Ignatius Press. It is the fourth in the series that I have read, the first was Saint Jose, Boy Cristero Martyr. I had pickup a couple of others, this one Father Damien and the Bells and St. Katharine Drexel few years back but have not get around to reading them because I really prefer eBooks to physical because of my dyslexia. The Ignatius site lists 33 books in the series currently, but I have found at least 3 missing from that list. Which was listed in the back of the very old edition of Fighting Father Duffy book that I read. The description of this volume is:

“This 25th volume in the acclaimed Vision Books series of saints' lives for youth 9-15 years old is the story of the saintly Fr. Damien, who in 1872 went to the island of Molokai, where lepers had been exiled to live in miserable surroundings. Damien earned the trust of the lepers, and his appeals for help resonated throughout the world. He spent his life caring for all the needs of the outcast lepers, and even after Damien himself contracted leprosy he carried on working for his "fellow lepers" to the end.”

The chapters in the book are:

A Fireside in Flanders
Decision of a Champion
The Old Tower Falls
Call to the South Seas
Voyage round the Horn
Land of Volcanoes
Petero’s Problem
Shadow of the Gray Island
Night under the Pandanus Tree
The Rosary and the Hammer
The Enemy Strikes Back
Aloha Kamiano
Author’s Note

The first 6 chapters explore Damien’s youth, as Joseph (Jef) de Veuster, the next 4 explore his missionary work. And the final two and Epilogue explore his decline and the lasting impact of his life and witness. A quite that particularly stuck me was:

“Flanders is a land of bells, and Joseph de Veuster was to know and love their pealing all his life. Many bells would ring for him: monastery bells, paced into prayerful silence; ship’s bells, marking time across two oceans; tinny chapel bells, clanging madly in a tropical earthquake; the almost soundless tinkle of a tiny Communion bell in a darkened room; and, finally, Saint Rombaut’s again, flinging a mighty peal of triumph across the world, even to the bitter gray cliffs of an island once known as Godforsaken.”

I have read many books about and by Saint Damien. My first encounter with Father Damien was back on retreat in 2006, Professor Michael W. Higgins was talking about his book, Stalking the Holy and speaking about Saints whose causes were in process, and some he expected would never have a cause. He spoke about Blessed Damien (at the time) and we watched the film Molokai: The Story of Father Damien. From that weekend on I have had a fascination with this saint. And I have read the collected letters a few times now, Father Damien's Letters. In all that I have read I was unaware of Damien’s association with Bells. Both his love of the bells at home growing up, and his requests for bells for all the churches and chapels he built in Hawaii prior to his time on Molokai. Based on my readings there are a few factual errors in this volume. For example Damien was one of four priests that volunteered to go to Molokai, in rotation. Damien went first and was never replaced at his request, and because of some conflict with the Health Board and Diocese.

But even with the few errors this is an excellent read. I was reading it at a waterpark and a family was across from me with 4 son’s and a daughter. The boys kept trying to read the back of the book. When I told them wat it was about even though they were evangelical and not Catholic they were excited when I gave them my copy after finishing. This book was originally published in 1957, it was reprinted in 1985 by Ignatius Press. 

I plan on reading all the books in this series that are in print and as many of the out of print that I can track down. I returned to this series because I had finished the 38 books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. Those books are geared for a younger audience, and these are written for older readers and go deeper into the subject matters of each volume. This is a great book in an excellent series. My only complaint is that only about a third of the books are available in digital formats, with my dual form of dyslexia and my son’s eye tracking issues eBooks are our preferred format. These books are written for a Middle Grade or Teens in mind, but this one and the others I have read are excellent volumes for readers of all ages. A great biography of an amazing Saint, I can easily recommend this book. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Books in the Vision Books Saints Biographies:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Louis and Zelie 
Maria von Trapp and Her Musical Family 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Our Lady Came to Fatima 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Benedict 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint Joan 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity 
Out of Print books in the Series:
Brother Andre of Montreal 
Catholic Campuses, Stories of American Catholic Colleges 
Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Chaplains in Action 
Charles de Foucauld, Adventurer of the Desert 
Children Welcome: Villages for Boys and Girls 
Christmas and the Saints 
Columbus and the New World 
Dear Philippine: Mission of Mother Duchesne 
Edel Quinn: Beneath the Southern Cross 
Father Kino, Priest to the Pimas 
Frances Warde and the First Sisters of Mercy 
Good Pope John b
Governor Al Smith 
In American Vineyards, Religious Orders in the United States 
Irish Saints 
John Carroll Bishop and Patriot
John Neumann, The Children's Bishop 
Kit Carson of the Old West 
Lydia Longley, the First American Nun 
Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pioneer Teacher 
Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World 
Modern Crusaders 
More Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Mother Barat's Vineyard 
My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic 
Peter and Paul: The Rock and the Sword 
Peter Claver, Saint Among Slaves
Pope Pius XII, the World's Shepherd 
Rose Hawthorne: The Pilgramage of Nathaniel's Daughter 
Saints of the Byzantine World 
Sarah Peter: The Dream and the Harvest 
St. Augustine and His Search for Faith 
St. Francis de Sales 
St. Gregory the Great, Consul of God 
St. Jerome and the Bible 
St. Margaret Mary, Apostle of the Sacred Heart 
The Bible Story, The Promised Lord and His Coming 
The Cross in the West 
The Ursulines, Nuns of Adventure 
When Saints Were Young 

Saturday, 25 June 2022

The Activated Disciple - Jeff Cavins - Taking Your Faith to the Next Level

The Activated Disciple:
Taking Your Faith to the Next Level
ISBN 9781945179426
eISBN 9781945179723

This volume was one of three I started using after ‘The Bible in a Year Retreat’. They were:

The Activated Disciple: Taking Your Faith to the Next Level
The Activated Disciple 40 Day Challenge Journal
The Activated Disciple Course 

I will be honest it took me longer than 40 days to work through the three resources. I had several resource3s planned for Lent and fell behind on this one. That being said, it is an excellent book, and when paired with the other two resources is exceptional. The description of the book is:

“The Activated Disciple teaches you how to imitate God, so you can become an instrument for him to transform the world.

If you yearn for a life that moves beyond believing and practicing, if you yearn to become an "activated" disciple, then this book is for you. The foundation of discipleship is imitation. The Activated Disciple learns to walk in the ways of the Lord. Discipleship requires such a close relationship with God that every area of your life is transformed. It is about opening yourself to God and inviting him to dwell within you, becoming holy as he is holy, loving as he is loving. By imitating God, disciples become the instruments God employs to transform the world.

● Take your faith to the next level.
● Transform every area of your life to become more like Christ.
● Learn how to overcome the obstacles that keep you from being the disciple you are called to be.
● Move beyond believing and practicing your faith, and begin radically living it.
● Learn how to become an instrument of transformation in the lives of others.”

And the chapters are:

One: Are You a Fan or a Follower?
Two: Imitating God
Three: Who’s Choosing Whom?
Four: Relationship Is a Process
Five: Going All In
Six: The Disciplines of a Disciple
Seven: Covered in the Dust of the Rabbi
Eight: A Cup of “Keurigma”

I only highlighted three passages my first time through the book. In part because I was using the companion journal.  They were:

“Leviticus is about holiness, and that is why it was the foundation of study for young Jewish children. The first sixteen chapters of Leviticus, often called the “priestly code,” are followed by chapters seventeen through twenty-seven, which are called the “holiness code.” We find that both divisions of the book intertwine, creating a marvelous, revelatory relationship between ritual and holiness.”

“The foundation of discipleship is imitation. Israel is called on to imitate God in the world, but how does a nation go about imitating a God that they cannot see? The answer: God reveals to them who he is and how to be holy as he is through his words and deeds. God has a plan. Israel will receive God’s Word, will observe all that God does, and will learn how to imitate God. In the truest sense possible, God is discipling Israel, with the hopes that they will become like him; they will be transformed into his likeness by imitating him in all that they do.”

“The foundation of discipleship is imitation, and the blueprint is found in, of all books, Leviticus.”

I was using adaptive technology and listening to the final section of the book. My son who is 14 came in; he listed with me for a while, and then asked what it was. He asked if he could read it once I was finished. That is a great testament to the power of this volume.

This book is written in Cavins engaging manner. It is exciting to read, and doing so over time with the journal forces you to really slow down and interact with the material. The book is well written and one that is very important for all Catholics today. We need to really know what we believe, how to share it, and fully live it out. This is a great resource for helping us grow in that. Often Cavins reveals the Jewish roots of specific practices or traditions. 

It is another excellent resource from Jeff, and from Ascension Press. I highly recommend this book to all Catholics.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Related Articles:
The Bible in a Year Resources:
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume I
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume II
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume III

Books by Jeff Cavins:
The Activated Disciple 40 Day Challenge Journal
The Activated Disciple Course 
My Life on the Rock
When You Suffer
I'm Not Being Fed
Praise God and Thank Him
Adventures In Revelation
Insight Journal
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume I
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume II
The Bible in a Year Companion, Volume III

Friday, 24 June 2022

Give Yourself to Christ - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Books

Give Yourself to Christ: 
First Homilies of Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
ISBN 9781860823374
ISBN 1860823378
CTS Booklet D675

Over the last few years I have read over 275 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. In fact as of the reading of this volume I have read 290 different titles and many of them multiple times. While researching a different book to review it I stumbled across several older titles from the CTS by Pope Benedict XVI. This is one of about a dozen that I added to my ‘to be read’ pile when I found them. Because they are out of print they can be harder to track down. This was the third I have tracked down and they have all been well worth it. The description of this book is:

“The passing of one Pope and the election of a successor are events that combine to form a momentous few weeks in the life of the Catholic Church - and, as the events of April 2005 have illustrated, even beyond to a wider audience. The death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI have certainly raised the interest of millions around the globe.

This collection of the homilies given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the period between the death of John Paul II, and his own election and inauguration as Pope Benedict XVI, capture the sentiments and aspirations not only of one man, or of the College of Cardinals, but the aspirations and prayers of a whole people.”

I read this book right after reading Conclave Step by Step through the Papal Interregnum by Monsignor Charles Burns O.B.E. part of the CTS Explanations Series which was a perfect volume to read before this one. Thay one dealt with the process and people involved in the election that selected Benedict XVI and this is a series of Homilies and talks, the first given by Benedict XVI.

The chapters in this book are:


1. Homily at the Funeral Mass of john Paul II of His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, St Peter's Square, Friday, 8 April 2005. 

2. Homily at the Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff of His Eminence Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, Vatican Basilica, Monday 18 April 2005.

3. Apostolic Blessing "Urbi et Orbi" of His Holiness Benedict XVI, St Peter's Square, 19 April, 2005.

4. First Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI at the end of the Eucharistic Concelebration with the Members of the College of Cardinals, The Sistine Chapel, Wednesday, 20 April 2005.

5. Homily of His Holiness. Benedict  XVI at the Mass for the Inauguration of His Pontificate. St. Peter’s Square. Sunday, 241 April 2005.

6. Homily of His Holiness Benedict SVU when visiting the Sepulchre of the Apostle to the Gentiles, Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls

7 Why the name Benedict?
Biographical Note 
Pope Benedict XVI’s Published Works

The first words in this book after the title page are:

“If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation". 

It is taken from his Homily during the Inaugural Mass. St Peter's Square, 24 April 2005. When I read some of Benedict XVI’s theological work there is effort involved and sometimes reading and rereading. But these Homilies are so accessible, open, and honest. The vulnerability Benedict has shown before his brothers in the clergy and all of us, Catholics and all people of this planet. Some even to this day refer to Pope Benedict XVI as Saint John Paul II’s Rottweiler, but in reading his words in this volume I do not know how anyone could see him in that light.

I highlighted many passages in this book my first time through it. Some of them were:

“The passing of one Pope and the election of a successor are events that combine to form a momentous few weeks in the life of the Catholic Church – and, as the events of April 2005 have illustrated, even beyond to a wider audience. The death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI have certainly raised the interest of millions around the globe.”

“This collection of homilies given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the period between the death of John Paul II , and his own election and inauguration as Pope Benedict XVI, capture the sentiments and aspirations nor only of one man, or of the College of Cardinals, but the aspirations and prayers of a whole people.”

“Al this moment of great responsibility let us listen with special attention to what the Lord says to us in his own words. I would like to examine just a few passages from the three readings that concern us directly at this time.”

“After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with inadequate instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers.”

“Grace and peace in abundance to all of you! In my soul there are two contrasting sentiments in these hours. On the one hand, a sense of inadequacy and human turmoil for the responsibility entrusted to me yesterday as the Successor of the Apostle Peter in this See of Rome, with regard to the Universal Church. On the other hand I sense within me profound gratitude to God Who - as the liturgy makes us sing - docs not abandon flock. But leads it throughout time, under the guidance  of those whom He has chosen as vicars of His Son, and made pastors.”

“I ask everyone to intensify in coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord, above all through the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations.”

“Theological dialogue is necessary. A profound exanimation of the historical reasons behind past choices is also indispensable. But even more urgent is that 'purification of memory,’ which was so often evoked by John Paul II, and which alone can dispose souls to welcome the full truth of Christ.”

“We were also consoled as we made our solemn entrance into Conclave, to elect the one whom the Lord had chosen. How would we be able to discern his name? How could 115 Bishops, from every culture and every country, discover the one on whom the Lord wished to confer the mission of binding and loosing?”

“Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament. My dear friends - at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more - in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn co carry one another.”

“It is really true: as we follow Christ  in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light or God. It is really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does Life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is.”

“At this point, my mind goes back to 22 October 1978, w hen Pope John Paul II began his ministry here in Saint Peter's Square. His words on that occasion constantly echo in my ears: “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!” The Pope was addressing the mighty, the powerful of this world, who feared that Christ might take away something of their power if they were to let him in, if they were to allow the faith to be free.”

“The 20th century was a time of martyrdom. Pope John Paul II highlighted it clearly, asking the Church to "actualize the Martyrology" and canonized and beatified numerous martyrs of recent history. Therefore, the blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians, especially where it has suffered most for the faith and the testimony of the Gospel.”

I hope those few samples will give you a feel for the richness of these texts. The passion and hope that Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy began with. This is a wonderful volume filled with faith, intent and purpose. It deeply stirred and moved me and I am certain it will do the same for all who read it with an open heart and mind. These are wonderfully pastoral works. And I highly recommend them. Another excellent resource from the Catholic Church Society! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI: