Tuesday 22 January 2019

Don't be afraid to be Saints: Words from John Paul II and Benedict XVI, World Youth Days 1984-2008

Don't be afraid to be Saints: Words from John Paul II and Benedict XVI, World Youth Days 1984-2008
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope John Paul II
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860824883
CTS Booklet Do 775 

I picked up this booklet to read after reading Finding Life's Purpose: Inspiration for Young People, which was taken from talks and sermons given by Pope Benedict in 2010 to young people on September 17th and 18th. So, this volume predates that volume and is taken from World Youth Days (WYD) between 1984 and 2008. But this volume is not direct excerpts from the WYD messages. This volume begins with a quote from Pope John Paul II in 2000 and the letter of invite from Pope Benedict XVI from 2008 and then the table of contents after these two pull page quotes.

The contents in this booklet are:

Come to Sydney
Christ is your Teacher
Discover your Vocation
Become a Witness
Formed by the Eucharist and Sacraments
Born to Love and Serve
The Challenge: Christ to the World?
To Live the Truth
Pilgrims looking for Christ

Based on the 68 quotes referenced in the endnotes the bock draws back and forth across various World Youth Days, and across both Popes. I personally have never been to a World Youth Day but have known many who gone and been blessed. And I believe the words spoken to the youth can encourage, and challenge those of us who are no longer in that category.  The opening words in the first chapter are:

“Christ’s call leads along a way which is not easy to travel, because it can also lead us to the Cross. But there is no other way which leads to truth and which can give life. Nevertheless, we are not alone on this path. Mary, through her fiat, opened a new way for humanity. By he acceptance of, and total dedication to the mission of her Son, she is the prototype of every Christian vocation.”

and later in the same chapter:

“You are young, and the Pope is old, 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations. Although I have lived through much darkness, under harsh totalitarian regimes, I have seen enough evidence to be unshakeably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope.”

I am in the middle I am not yet in my 80’s but also far from my 20’s. But the message in this book speaks to me, and gives me hope, and inspires me to bring hope. I need to bring and live that hope to my family, my friends, my coworkers. This book is a reminder to all of us, to live our call and be bold for the gospel. As a side note as much as I enjoyed this volume I enjoyed the one by Benedict XVI that is called out at the beginning of this review even more.

Another excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society, and though out of print worth tracking down.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:

Way of the Cross Meditations and Prayers
Way of Calvary: Stations of the Cross 
Spiritual Masters Fathers and Writers of the First Millennium 
Spiritual Masters Medieval Fathers and Writers

Books About Pope Benedict:
Habemus Papam! Pope Benedict XVI - Regina Doman and Sean Lam
Benedict XVI - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky
A Pope of Surprises: The First Five Years of Pope Benedict XVI's Papacy - Helena Scott and Ethel Tolansky

Be Saints! An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI - Amy Welborn and Ann Kissane Engelhart

Friendship with Jesus: Pope Benedict XVI talks to Children on Their First Holy Communion – Amy Welborn and Ann Engelhart
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Mike Aquilina and Fr. Kris Stubna

Related Articles:
Daily Study Prayer of Pope Benedict XVI
Which popes do you have a devotion to and why?

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