Wednesday 22 May 2019

Take Five: Meditations with Pope Benedict XVI - Mike Aquilina and Kris D. Stubna

Take Five: Meditations with Pope Benedict XVI
Mike Aquilina
Kris D. Stubna
Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN 9781592765546
eISBN 9781306067539

This book was edited and compiled by Mike aquiline and Kris D. Stubna. It is one of three books co-authored by Mike that are in this style and format:

Take Five: On-The-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius
Take Five: Meditations with Pope Benedict XVI
Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman

It is the first that I have read, but before I had even finished it I picked up the other two. This book was very had to put down. I had to ration it and found myself doing one meditation in the morning, one at lunch and one in the evening because I just could not stop reading. In the How To Use Ths Book section we are told:

“Yet so many sermons and books on the spiritual life seem to ignore these everyday realities and focus instead on matters that are important — methods of meditation, volunteer work, almsgiving — but that hold a marginal place in the ordinary days of ordinary people.

In this book, we bring the rich teachings of Pope Benedict XVI to bear on the everyday circumstances of working life. Pope Benedict XVI has worked prodigiously through his life, and he has urged all the Church to do the same. He has written so many books and articles that his full bibliography can itself fill a book! And he produced these important works even as he held prestigious and responsible administrative and teaching positions.”

Each meditation is an extract from the works of Pope Benedict, from sermons, weekly reflections and his writings. They can be read in any order. And you can return to the book and read them again and again. There are 72 meditations or reflections in this volume. They cover a wide range of topics. The format of each is:

Think About It – a few points for prayer.
Just Imagine – a biblical passage for reflection.
Remember – a quote to take with you for the day.

Now I am typically an eBook guy, I read 30 eBooks for every physical book. This is one I will pick up a physical copy of to keep in my bedside bookcase, so that I can randomly open it any where and read them again from time to time. The 72 meditations are:

1. The Value of Every Human Being
2. Bringing Christ to Others
3. Be Ambitious
4. The Longing of the Human Heart
5. Continuing Education
6. The Grandeur of the Worker
7. Driving Safely
8. What’s My Style?
9. Warts and All
10. Courage, Daring
11. Signs of the Kingdom
12. Your Witness at Work
13. Listening to God’s Word
14. Choosing Truth
15. Offer It Up!
16. Living in Hope
17. Who Listens?
18. Purer Prayer
19. The Truth About Me
20. Feeding Our Prayer
21. Hope in God
22. Confess Regularly
23. Think Globally
24. Effective Communications
25. Only in God
26. End Times Begin Now
27. Walk Always With Jesus
28. The Power of Beauty
29. Discerning the Future
30. Loving God and Neighbor
31. A True Mission
32. Humility
33. The Small Details
34. Seeing With Christ’s Eyes
35. A Word About the Word
36. We Cannot Love If We Do Not Know
37. Prayer and Work
38. The Profit Motive
39. Go Against the Tide
40. How to Take a Sick Day
41. Personal Relationship With Christ
42. Ever a Seeker
43. Living With the Saints
44. Ready With a Reason
45. Giving of Self
46. Celebrating Sunday
47. The Happiness You Desire
48. Life Without God
49. False Gods I: Things
50. False Gods II: “Love”
51. False Gods III: Power
52. God’s Encouragement
53. The Ministry of Angels
54. Confronting Death
55. Praying for the Dead
56. Working for Unity
57. Giving Thanks Constantly
58. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
59. Building Up a Spiritual Reserve
60. Concern for Others
61. Friendship in Christ
62. Keeping Sunday Holy
63. Confirmed in the Spirit
64. Relying on Grace
65. Honor the Cross
66. Conversion of Heart
67. Going to Confession
68. Volunteering
69. Facing Temptations
70. Selfless Love
71. Mary, Our Mother
72. Praying the Rosary

The meditations focus around ‘5 Touchstones’ of Pope Benedict’s live and works:

1. Christ-Centered
2. Biblical
3. Liturgical
4. Traditional
5. Marian

Some of the meditations are only a few lines and some span a few pages. A sample one is:

Continuing Education:

Do not forget, however, that in order to carry out the mission entrusted to you, a proper technical and professional training is of course necessary; above all, though, you must ceaselessly cultivate within you a spirit of prayer and faithful adherence to the teachings of Christ and his Church. May the Virgin Mary, Star of the new evangelization, help and protect you always!
— Address on the 75th Anniversary of the
Founding of Vatican Radio (March 3, 2006)


 I should strive to know and do my work better, because I’m offering it to God.

 I should be ambitious in order to have a greater influence in my workplace or profession.

 Do I see my work — whatever it may be — as part of the new evangelization?


They were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well.”
Mark 7:37


To carry out the mission entrusted to me, a proper technical and professional training is necessary; above all, though, I must ceaselessly cultivate a spirit of prayer.”

This is a wonderful book that will challenge you, encourage you and bring your faith to life in a new way. It doesn’t matter if you read it from beginning to end or jump about. I am sure it will be a blessing on your life. So pick it up and take five minutes with Pope Benedict XVI from time to time to nourish your spiritual life. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

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?

Books by Mike Aquilina:
A Year with the Angels: Daily Meditations with the Messengers of God
A Year With The Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living
Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts
Companion Guide to Pope Benedict's 'The Fathers' 
Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will
Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist
Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons 
Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life
Ministers & Martyrs: The Ultimate Catholic Guide to the Apostolic Age
Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With St. Thomas Aquinas
Roots of the Faith: From the Church Fathers to You
Sharing Christ's Priesthood: A Bible Study for Catholics
Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols
Sweet Gridlock: Selected Love Poems 
Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems
The Apostles and Their Times
The Church and the Roman Empire
The Fathers of the Church Bible
The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers
The Mass of the Early Christians
The Resilient Church: The Glory, the Shame, & the Hope for Tomorrow
The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
The Way of the Fathers: Praying With the Early Christians
The Witness of Early Christian Women: Mothers of the Church
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Why Me? When Bad Things Happen
Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes Our World

Books co-written by Mike Aquilina:
A Pocket Catechism for Kids - Fr. Kris Stubna
Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth - Dion DiMucci
Keeping Mary Close: Devotion to Our Lady through the Ages - Fr. Frederick Gruber
Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians - Scott Hahn
Praying the Psalms the Early Christians - Christopher Bailey
Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer - Mark W. Sullivan
Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again - James Papandrea
Something More Pastoral: The Mission of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Ann Rodgers
Take Five: Meditations John Henry Newman - Fr. Juan Velez
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Fr. Kris Stubna
Take Five: On the Job Meditations With St. Ignatius - Fr. Kris Stubna
Talking to Youth About Sexuality: A Parents' Guide - Fr. Kris Stubna
The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today - John Michael Talbot
The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Doubter's Novena: Nine Steps to Trust the Apostle Thomas - Christopher Bailey
The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence - Christopher Bailey
The Great Life: Essays on Doctrine and Holiness in Honor of Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. - Kenneth Ogorek
The Holy Land: A Guide for Pilgrims - Fr. Dave Halaiko
The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions - Regis J. Flaherty
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The World's First Christmas: Jubilee 2000 - Regis J. Flaherty
Weapons of the Spirit: Selected Writings of Father John Hugo - David Scott
What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism - Fr. Kris Stubna

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