Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,
Beginning the New Year, the Church mourns the passing of Joseph Ratzinger, who reigned as Pope Benedict XVI from 2005- 2013. Pope Benedict was a gentle shepherd and one of the greatest minds of the past century. He was a prolific writer (86 books and hundreds of scholarly articles) and uniquely gifted teacher, who used his brilliance to draw people to a fresh encounter with the Word made flesh. His life consisted in an unrelenting search for truth, just like the Magi that we encounter on the Feast of the Epiphany. I don’t think any other contemporary theologian influenced my intellectual formation as a seminarian and priest as much Pope Benedict. His scholarly and Christ centered work is a gift to humanity for centuries to come, and will prove spiritually fruitful for me for the rest of my life. For someone who wrote so much, and who wrote so beautifully and comprehensively, I hesitate to list favorite passages. Here are a few in any case:
“If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed.”
“The essence of Christianity is not an idea, not a system of thought, not a plan of action. The essence of Christianity is a Person: Jesus Christ himself. That which is essential is the One who is essential. To become truly real means to come to know Jesus Christ and to learn from him what it means to be human.”
“Jesus himself is what we call ‘heaven;’ heaven is not a place but a person, the person of him in whom God and man are forever and inseparably one. And we go to heaven and enter into heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him.”
Pope Benedict XVI, as we pray for you, pray also for us that we might imitate your passionate search for the face of the living God in Jesus Christ!
May the angels lead you to Paradise.
In the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ,