Thank You for Your Gift, Benedict XVI
Introduction to Christianity, he asks, "What is the meaning and significance of the Christian profession 'I believe' today, in the context of our present existence and our present attitude to reality as a whole?" (47). Then he proceeds to answer the question with the skill and agility of an athlete.
To really appreciate who Benedict XVI is and what he has to offer, you would have to spend some time reading his books. Nevertheless, perhaps you can get some sense for the kind of arguments he untangled if we take a quick look at what Benedict XVI has said about the crisis in modern scholarship and the interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures.
In his Apostolic Exhortation, The Word of the Lord, and in his trilogy, Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict XVI reminds us that the Scriptures were written by a faith-filled community under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Scriptures must be interpreted with this view in mind. Modern scholarship not only attempts to divorce the text from its proper context, but it approaches the Scriptures with certain preconceived notions that are inimical to the faith.
For instance, a fundamental premise underlying much modern scholarship of the Scriptures is that the "Divine does not intervene in human history." This premise completely negates the message and meaning of the Scriptures, and it largely explains many of the false and confusing statements we hear today. For instance, we often hear that the Eucharist is not the true Body and Blood of Jesus, or Jesus did not physically rise from the dead, but only in the hearts and minds of his disciples. Clearly, these statements are fundamentally flawed.
We may not all have the same needs, but this was precisely what I needed, and Benedict XVI gave it to me. Seeing how deftly and honestly he reasoned, helped strengthen my faith against the buffeting winds of doctrine, and it showed me that these winds were mostly hot air. He also gave me the confidence to navigate out of the maze created by the secular, postmodern world and to strive for the vision that John Paul II gave me. This was the gift Benedict XVI gave me.
I thank you for your gift, Benedict XVI. Please know that you will always be in my prayers and in my heart. Although I am sad you resigned, I know that your life of prayer and contemplation will be of great service to the Church, and I hope you will continue to write.
Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pope Benedict XVI, Pope, Benedict, Ratzinger, resign, abdicate, Catholic Church, Michael Terheyden
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