Monday, November 24, 2014

Remember Jesus Christ (The Word Among Us Press)

It's almost time for my favorite season of the Church Year...Advent! It's a time to start fresh, a time to make goals/resolutions for the coming year, a time to grow closer to God. For the past couple of years, I have made a book recommendation for the Advent season. Normally, I'll recommend something that provides you with short daily readings for the season to keep your mind and heart focused on the true purpose of preparing for the coming of our Lord. This Advent I decided to try a more difficult book, called Remember Jesus Christ.

I find myself collecting and reading a type of Catholic book I wasn't aware was available until recently. They are books which contain talks/retreats given to the papal household. My logic is that if these priests and their message is good enough for the Pope to hear, then they are good enough for me to read. I own several now, and my most recent one is Remember Jesus Christ by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa. Fr. Cantalamessa was appointed to the papal household in 1980 by Pope John Paul II, and the book Remember Jesus Christ contains meditations that were given in Advent 2005 and Lent 2006 in front of Pope Benedict. It's like getting two books in one!

The book has eight chapter, four for Advent and four for Lent, with the entirety of the book focusing on the question, "What place does Christ have in modern society?" The Advent section's message revolves around the "proclamation of Christ." While the section on Lent has a message of "imitation of Christ, especially Christ in His Passion." Each chapter is broken down into four to six subsections. I recommend using each of these subsections as a daily reflection through Advent and Lent. There aren't enough subsections to get you through every day of either season, but they are interesting and deep enough that you'll want extra days to re-visit deeper parts.

My favorite chapter was Chapter 4: "To You This Day is Born a Savior: How to Proclaim the Salvation of Christ Today." In this chapter, Fr. Cantalamessa discusses what type of savior humanity needs. Though we all need salvation, we all come from different walks of life and therefore need salvation presented to us differently so that we can more easily understand it and accept it. However, the Faith does not just respond to expectations of salvation but creates and expands these expectations as well. He also explains why we still need a savior today and how that Savior is Jesus Christ Himself. Lastly, he discusses how Christ saves us from both space and time. We are saved from space by being freed from living in the vast universe being envious and instead are content with who we are. We are freed from time by Christ defeating death.

This was a very enlightening book that I plan on reading through again at a slower pace during Advent. I will then pick it up again during Lent and visit that section anew as I will have had time to let things marinate in my head. If you are looking for a challenging, but fruitful read for Advent, then I recommend Remember Jesus Christ. I look forward to checking out Fr. Cantalamessa's other two books Contemplating the Trinity and The Fire of Christ's Love.

This book was provided to me for free by The Word Among Us Press in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!