Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on the Holy Mass. By Pope Benedict XVI. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2022. P.117.
Pope Benedict XVI (Georg Ratzinger, Maria Ratzinger, was a Cardinal and President of the Pontifical Commission of Doctrine of Faith under Pope John Paul II until he became the Pope of the Catholic Church. The book that we are reviewing is entirely about the Eucharist taken fr.om Apostolic Documents given until his resignation on the 28th of February 2013. The title of this book already describes its importance and helpful. Taking part in the eucharistic sacrifice, the source and summit of the Christian life, they offer the divine victim to God and themselves along with it. And so it is that, both in the offering and in Holy Communion, each in his own way, though not of course indiscriminately, has his own part to play in the liturgical action. (Lumen Gentium 4). The title of the book is almost a quote from the document on the Church in Vatican II.
Pope Benedict develops some of the following points. The obligation to worship God on the Sabbath is one of ten commandments of God. The martyrs of Africa respond to the Roman authorities that they must worship on Sundays at the sacrifice of their lives, not because it is obligatory but because it is the life and love with Jesus Christ, The Bread of Life: Without Sunday We Cannot Live.
The Eucharist is the Wine Tree of Love, Love of God, Source and School of Love, Incarnate Love of God. With the Eucharist We Stand before You and Serve. Under the reflection of the gift of self-dedication of Christ (and the Eucharist) Pope Benedict speaks of the Eucharist as “The House of Jesus, The Passion of Jesus. The Eucharist is not only a sacrament for a Christian, it is the source and summit of the Church., The Hope of the Grain of Wheat, Eucharistic Community, God is Not Far from Us, The Sacrament of the Life of God.
Heart of the Christian Life is a “Vademecum” (a book to carry by one’s side). For those who desire a deeper Eucharistic spirituality, a book to use in praying before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, or just a series of reflections for Christians who want to a read these thoughts about the Eucharist in Pope Benedict’s book.
Ernest Falardeau, SSS