In Life in Christ Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, presents a project of re-evangelization and spiritual renewal based on St. Pauls Letter to the Romans. It is therefore neither an exegetical commentary nor a theological treatise, but goes straight to the heart of what animated the Apostle when he wrote this letter. His aim was not to give the Christians of Rome-and the Christians of later generations-a difficult text on which to exercise their critical wisdom but rather to impart a spiritual gift to them so that they would be strengthened and mutually encouraged by each others faith.
At the beginning of the third millennium a new phenomenon is spreading through the Christian Churches which can only be the work of the Holy Spirit. Up to now Christians of different denominations have proclaimed Jesus Christ mainly in competition and rivalry with one another, thus compromising our testimony in the eyes of the world. Why should we not grasp this unique occasion to start proclaiming together with brotherly love our common belief in Christ, which is far more important than what still separates us? Pope John Paul II has espoused this project and has expressed the wish that all Christians take this opportunity "for fruitful cooperation in the many areas which unite us; these are unquestionably more numerous than those which divide us."
Life in Christ is a contribution to the realization of this project. Father Cantalamessa has made the most of the insights and riches present in each one of the three main Christian traditions: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant, avoiding those points not commonly shared by all believers in Christ, or at least by the majority of them. The Letter to the Romans lends itself to this aim because it deals with the basics of the Christian faith, leaving all the rest aside. It is the ideal basis for that "Common Witness" which is becoming more and more central to ecumenical dialogue. This is, therefore, a first and "partial" attempt to present a spirituality and a proclamation corresponding to the new grace of understanding and unity given to the Christians in the second half of this century.
Raniero Cantalamessa is a Franciscan Capuchin Catholic Priest. Born in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, 22 July 1934, ordained priest in 1958. Divinity Doctor and Doctor in classical literature. Former Ordinary Professor of History of Ancient Christianity and Director of the Department of religious sciences at the Catholic University of Milan. Member of the International Theological Commission (1975-1981).In 1979 he resigned his teaching position to become a full time preacher of the Gospel. In 1980 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II Preacher to the Papal Household in which capacity he still serves, preaching a weekly sermon in Advent and Lent in the presence of the Pope, the cardinals, bishops an prelates of the Roman Curia and the general superiors of religious orders. He is frequently invited to speak at international and ecumenical conferences and rallies. He is has been member of Catholic delegation for the Dialogue with the Pentecostal Churches for the last ten years. He runs a weekly program on the first channel of the Italian state television (RAI).
Life in Christ presents a discussion of re-evangelization and spiritual renewal based on St. Pauls Letter to the Romans. It is neither an exegetical commentary nor a theological treatise, but an attempt to go straight to the heart of what animated the Apostle when he wrote the letter: to build up the faith of the readers and reveal to them the immense treasures of Christs redemption. Dealing with the basics of the Christian faith, the Letter to the Romans, besides being an ideal charter for the "new evangelization," is the best basis for that "common witness" among Christians of different denominations that is becoming more and more central to the ecumenical dialogue.
There have been few books that have had such a profound effect on my life. I love the combination of stunning scholarship and beautiful spirituality.
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