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Encountering Christ: Homilies, Letters, and Addresses of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is a book from Scepter Publishers that I was dying to read, so much so that it got to the point where I was emailing them weekly to see if it had been released yet. In this book, one can read the words of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from 2009 to 2013. Some of these homilies were given right before the conclave that resulted in his election to the papacy.
This book is divided into eight sections. Seven of the sections are addresses or homilies for specific occasions or people, including homilies for Christmas Eve; Lent; Easter Vigil; Corpus Christi, Catechists; Priests; and Bishops. The last section deals with Social Doctrines of the Church. I was super excited that there was a section for catechists. Although the audience is intended for catechists in Argentina, the message rings true for all catechists, and since I am a catechist, I felt like he was personally talking to me. In the Catechist section, he spoke about embracing the Year of Faith. I guarantee he never thought he would be the Pope closing out the Year of Faith when he was speaking on it.
Reading through Archbishop Bergoglio's homilies for Ash Wednesday, one begins to make sense of Pope Francis' actions upon ascending the papacy. The humility and service that those outside of the Church find astounding are the words he preached for years to the people of Argentina. He truly is a Pope who is not only talking the talk but walking the walk as well. Don't think of Pope Francis as just a simple man who preaches love and service though. He has a brilliant mind and that is on display in his social doctrine speeches.
This is my #1 choice for books to read by/about Pope Francis and easily gets a 5 star rating. Even though we just received his first encyclical, it was written primarily by Pope Benedict XVI. This book provides several years of Pope Francis' teachings before he was pope. I believe it will help illuminate the path on which he will lead the Church during his papacy, and frankly, I couldn't be more pleased. If you would like to read a few articles/interviews from someone involved with one part of the translation of these talks, then click the two links below. And as always, if you found this review helpful, please click this link and hit Yes!