For Pope Benedict XVI, "the liturgical year is a great voyage of faith on which the Church sets us out." The feast days in the Churchs liturgical calendar follow the major events of Jesus life as recounted in the Gospels. This cycle provides a rhythm to the life of the Church and helps Christians better understand the divine mystery. Especially in our secularised society, liturgical practices guide and deepen our path, centering our focus on Christ and teaching us how to live.
Holy Days collects Pope Benedict XVIs homilies on the feast days in the Churchs liturgical calendar, beginning with Advent and concluding with the feast of Christ the King. The book is organized by season and feast days, with brief introductions. This short volume will be a welcome resource for priests and parishioners seeking to focus their minds in preparation for worship.
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.
The following meditation on the season of Advent is excerpted from Pope Benedict XVI’s new book Holy Days: Meditations on the Feasts, Fasts, and Other Solemnities of the Church.
Advent, this powerful liturgical season that we are beginning, invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us, signs of the attention he has for each one of us. How often does God give us a glimpse of his love! To keep, as it were, an “interior journal” of this love would be a beautiful and salutary task for our life! In the language of the ancient world it was a technical term used to indicate the arrival of an official or the visit of the king or emperor to a province. However, it could also mean the coming of the divinity that emerges from concealment to manifest himself forcefully or that was celebrated as being present in worship. Christians used the word “advent” to express their relationship with Jesus Christ:
Jesus is the King who entered this poor “province” called “earth” to pay everyone a visit; he makes all those who believe in him participate in his coming, all who believe in his presence in the liturgical assembly. The essential meaning of the word adventus was: God is here, he has not withdrawn from the world, he has not deserted us. Even if we cannot see and touch him as we can tangible realities, he is here and comes to visit us in many ways.