Tuesday 7 February 2023

Christmas Homilies of Benedict XVI - Pope Benedict XVI - CTS Books

Christmas Homilies of Benedict XVI: 
All Benedict XVI's Homilies from Christmas Midnight Mass from 2005 to 2011 
Pope Benedict XVI
ISBN 9781860828195
CTS Booklet Do861

I was reading this volume when news of Pope Benedict’s passing came in. I have been intentional about tracking down and reading volumes by him from the Catholic Truth Society, I have read a few, have a few others, and several that are out of print are on my wish list. This one is another collection of homilies and it is an excellent little read. 

Over the last several years I have read over 300 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. In fact, this is the 334th book or booklet from the CTS that I have read several of them by or about Pope Benedict. 

The description of this volume:

“All Pope Benedict SVI’s homilies from Christmas Midnight Mass from 2005 to 2011.

The Holy Father uses all his pastoral experience and theological insight to explain clearly, simply, and meaningfully, what we remember at Christmas. This comprehensive collection of his Christmas Homilies shows how Jesus is someone who comes to be near to us and to be light in our darkness. Christ who is not only God’s greatest gift but Emmanuel; God with us.”

The chapters in the volume are:

The Christ-Child Brings Love and Peace 
Signs and Symbolism of the Nativity 
God Came Down from Heaven for Our Gond 
God's Coming Must Be Met With Song 
The Story of the Shepherds 
Christ Came to Fulfil the Prophecies
     - We Must Rejoice 
A Feast of the Heart 

Those sources are:

The Christ-Child Brings Love and und Peace·
Saturday, 24th December 2005

Signs and Symbolism of the Nativity:
Sunday, 24th December 2006

God Came Down from Heaven for Our Good:
Monday, 24th December 2007

God's Coming Must Be Met With Song:
Wednesday, 24th December 2008

The Story of the Shepherds:
Thursday, 24th December 2009

Christ Came to Fufil the Prophecies - We Must Rejoice:
Friday, 24th December 2010

A Feast of the Heart;
Saturday, 241h December 2011

I read this volume slowly over a number of days. I read one homily at a time. I highlighted several passages in each. Here are some of those highlighted passages:

“The expression “has appeared” in the original Greek says the same thing that was expressed in Hebrew by the words "a light has shone": this “apparition'' - this "epiphany" - is the breaking of God's light upon a world full of darkness and unsolved problems.”

“The true mystery of Christmas is the inner brightness radiating from this Child. May that inner brightness spread to us, and kindle in our hearts the flame of God's goodness: may all of us, by our love, bring light to the world!”

“This is what God has done: he invites us to his wedding feast, something which we cannot reciprocate, but can only receive with joy. Let us imitate him! Let us love God and. starting from him, let us also love man, so that, starting from man, we can then rediscover God in a new way!”

“Let us ask the Lord to grant us the grace of looking upon the crib this night with the simplicity of the shepherds, so as to receive the joy with which they returned home (cf. Lk 2:20).”

“It is in this context that the Fathers interpret the song of the angels on that holy night: it is an expression of joy over the fact that the height and the depth, heaven and earth, are once more united; that man is again united to God.”

“We might say that, following the structure of Hebrew poetry, the two halves of this double verse say essentially the same thing, but from a different perspective. God's glory is in the highest heavens, but his high state is now found in the stable - what was lowly has now become sublime.”

“This silent coming of God's glory continues throughout the centuries. Wherever there is faith, wherever his word is proclaimed and heard, there God gathers people together and gives himself to them in his Body; he makes them his Body. God "comes". And in this way our hearts are awakened. The new song of the angels becomes the song of all those who, throughout the centuries, sing ever anew of God's coming as a child – and rejoice deep in their hearts.”

“The first thing we are told about the shepherds is that they were on watch - they could hear the message precisely because they were awake. We must he awake, so that we can hear the message. We must become truly vigilant people.”

“This new family of God begins at the moment when Mary wraps her first-born in swaddling clothes and lays him in a manger. Let us pray to him: Lord Jesus, who wanted to be born as the first of many brothers and sisters, grant us the grace of true brotherhood. Help us to become like you. Help us to recognise your face in others who need our assistance, in those who are suffering or forsaken, in all people, and help us to live together with you as brothers and sisters, so as to become one family, your family.”

Like much of what I have read by Pope Benedict XVI, this volume is infused with his deep personal faith, his mastery of theological concepts, and great wisdom. These homilies are accessible. They can be engaged with and enjoyed by any Catholic, and I would go so far as to say any Christian would benefit from these words. 

This is another excellent little volume. It is always inspiring to read the words of Benedict XVI to see his faith infused in his teachings, his love for God and his desire for our growth. It is a great read and I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Benedict XVI:

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