Monday 17 August 2020

Fathers and Writers of the First Millennium - Pope Benedict XVI - The Spiritual Masters

Fathers and Writers of the First Millennium
The Spiritual Masters
Pope Benedict XVI
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860827228
CTS Booklet B739

I love reading books from the Catholic Truth Society, and I love reading books by and about Pope Benedict XVI.  And this volume combines both those passions. Over the last few years I have read over 100 books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. And several volumes by or about Pope Benedict XVI. The description of the book is:

“The ten catechisms in this richly illustrated volume take us back to the historical period immediately following the first Fathers of the Church.  Each of the Spiritual Masters described by Pope Benedict left their own mark on the Church’s culture and spirituality and helped in her growth.

John Climacus describes the ladder to heaven famously depicted in many icons but also present in the practical counsels he passes on to us in his writings. Bede the Venerable reminds us of the centrality of the Sacred Scriptures as a constant source of theological reflection.  St. Boniface, Apostle to the Germans and a great organizer, founded the monastery of Fulda in 743 which became the heart and the centre from which a new spiritual and religious culture spread.  A less well known writer from Provence was Ambrose Autpert, who transmits across the centuries his precious theological work on the struggle between good and evil; he was a great defender of sacred images and of the Assumption of Our Lady.  John Damascene was a figure of great importance in the history of the Universal Church and the Byzantine theology.  St. Theodore the Studite bore a vivid and coherent witness to Jesus in turbulent times. Rabanus Maurus was a monk whose writings help put us into contact with the wisdom of the ancients.  John Scotus Erigena excelled as a notable thinker and patriotic scholar.  Sts Cyril and Methodius were brothers united both in the Faith and blood who together committed their lives to missionary work and to sanctity.”

And the chapters are:
John Climacus
Bede the Venerable
Saint Boniface
Ambrose Autpert
Germanus of Constantinople
John Damascene
Saint Theodore the Studite
Rabanus Maurus
John Scotus Erigena
Saints Cyril and Methodius

The English edition of this book released in 2011, it is a translation from Italian that was released in 2009. There is a companion volume Spiritual Masters: Medieval Fathers and Writers that was released the same year. Both are currently out of print. And I am still trying to track down the second volume. This volume was an excellent read. And one I plan to return to and read again. It is also different than many of the books I read from the Catholic Truth Society.  It is a beautiful hard cover volume. With full glossy pages. Aver few pages is a 2 page color print, and often single pages prints of classic artwork. There are 26 illustrations in total and 5 of those are two page spreads. Each chapter is a translation of an audience given between 11th February 2009 and 17th June that same year. These ten reflections go deep into the fathers, their lives, and their meaning for us today. They each are examples to us today. 

I seldom keep physical books. I tend to pass them on to others. But this book is a pleasure to read and view that it has gone on my shelf of keepers. 

This is an excellent volume and well worth tracking down. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:
The Way of the Cross - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - Pope Benedict XVI
Finding Life's Purpose: Inspiration for Young People
Don't Be Afraid To Be Saints - with Pope John Paul II
Confession Advice and Encouragement from Pope Benedict XVI 

From the Depths of Our Hearts - Pope Benedict XVI and Robert Cardinal Sarah
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

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