In this book of meditations, based on a series of homilies and meditations presented and compiled by the author shortly before he became Archbishop of Munich-Freising, in 1977, theologian Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) presents his profound thoughts on the nature and person of God, building a bridge between theology and spirituality as he makes wide use of the Sacred Scriptures to reveal the beauty and mystery of who God is. He writes about each of the three persons in the Holy Trinity, showing the different attributes of each person, and that God is three and God is one.
God is, and the Christian faith adds: God is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three and one. This is the very heart of Christianity, but it is so often shrouded in a silence born of perplexity. Has the Church perhaps gone one step too far here? Ought we not rather leave something so great and inaccessible as God in his inaccessibility? Can something like the Trinity have any real meaning for us? It is certainly true that the proposition that "God is three and God is one" is and remains the expression of his otherness, which is infinitely greater than us and transcends all our thinking and our existence. But, as Joseph Ratzinger shows, if this proposition meant nothing to us, it would not have been revealed! And as a matter of fact, it could be clothed in human language only because it had already penetrated human thinking and living to some extent.
Pope Benedict XVI - Joseph Ratzinger
Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; Italian: Benedetto XVI; German: Benedikt XVI.; born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) is the 265th and reigning Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and, as such, Sovereign of the Vatican City State. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship. He succeeded Pope John Paul II. Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was for over two decades The Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Pope John Paul II. He is the author of Spirit of the Liturgy, Salt of the Earth, Introduction to Christianity, God and the World, Milestones, Called to Communion, God Is Near Us.
Without Jesus, we do not know what Father truly is. This becomes visible in his prayer, which is the foundation of his being. A Jesus who was not continuously absorbed in the Father, and was not in continuous intimate communication with him, would be a completely different being from the Jesus of the Bible, the real Jesus of history In Jesus prayer, the Father becomes visible and Jesus makes himself known as the Son. The unity which this reveals is the Trinity. Accordingly, becoming a Christian means sharing in Jesus prayer, entering into the model provided by his life, i.e. the model of prayer. Becomng a Christian means saying Father with Jesus, and thus becoming a child, Gods son, God, in the unity of the Spirit, who allows us to be ourselves and precisely in this way draws us into the unity of God. Being a Christian means looking at the world from this central point, which gives us freedom, hope, decisiveness, and consolation.
, Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)
In this profound series of meditations, Ratzinger shows the enduring core of his theology. The future pope begins with an ancient Jewish story: The prophet Jeremiah and his son one day succeeded in creating a living man, through the correct combination of words and letters. Now that you are able to create a man, God is dead. My life is the death of God, the man says. Ratzinger then shows that mans knowledge of God depends on the relationship that a man establishes between himself and the world and his life; that the question of whether God exists can be answered only in terms of some image of who or what God is, of some sense of how he shapes the whole of our existence."
, David L. Schindler, John Paul II Institute