On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I scheduled an appointment to take my car into the auto shop on account of a recent recall. While waiting for the work to be done, I brought with me Pope Francis’ new book, The Name of God is Mercy. It is a combination of two documents: His Papal Bull declaring this year as a year of mercy, and a transcription of an interview between Pope Francis and Andrea Tornielli, where our Holy Father elaborates on his personal experiences with the mercy of God and his desire to call for a year of mercy for the entire Church.
As I began reading it, I found that I couldn’t put it down. I read for two and a half hours without interruption. When the service representative came to tell me that my car was ready, he asked me if I wanted to stick around for a while and continue reading my book. I almost said yes, because I realized I was only a few pages away from finishing the interview. Let me declare with confidence, Pope Francis’ new book is a wonderful read!READ MORE
As many of you know, spiritual reading is a significant part of my daily life. I read for an hour or more nearly every day. Recently, I finished Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium. This is a published interview between Pope Benedict XVI and Peter Seewald, recorded in 1996 when Pope Benedict XVI was Cardinal Ratzinger and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). In this interview, Pope Benedict XVI offers some profound insights into his personal life and what it means to participate in the life of the Church, and he addresses some important questions about the Church in today’s world. I thought it would be nice to invite you to participate in my spiritual reading by sharing some excerpts from this interview.
What were your concerns when Pope Paul VI made you the bishop of Munich?
“I had, of course, very great doubts at first whether I should or ought to accept this appointment. I had little pastoral experience. I felt that, in principle, I was called from the beginning to teach and believed that at this period of my life - I was fifty years old - I had found my own theological vision and could now create an oeuvre with which I would contribute something to the whole of theology.
I then took counsel and was told that in an extraordinary situation such as we live in today, it is also necessary to accept things that don’t seem to be in the direction of one’s life from the beginning. Today, the problem of the Church is very closely tied to that of theology. In this situation, even theologians have to be available as bishops.” (Excerpts from page 81)READ MORE
In light of the Father’s merciful love made incarnate to us through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, we come to see how man finds his fulfillment and destiny in mercy. Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church’s relationship to the modern world, says:
“The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light…Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear…He Who is ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1:15), is Himself the perfect man…For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man” (Par. 22).
If Christ is the Father’s merciful love made incarnate, and Christ has united Himself in some way to every man, and in so doing reveals man fully to himself, then every man is somehow destined to re-discover himself in mercy.READ MORE