Francis signed the preface to a volume of the Lev “God is always new”, which includes the spiritual thought of the pope emeritus: “His argumentation of faith was carried out with the devotion of a man who has abandoned his entire being to God”.
I am happy that the reader can hold in his hands this text of spiritual thoughts of the late Pope Benedict XVI. The title expresses one of the most characteristic aspects of my predecessor’s magisterium and vision of faith: yes, God is always new because it is the source and reason for beauty, grace and truth. God is never repetitive, God surprises us, God brings novelty. The spiritual freshness that emerges from these pages confirms it with intensity.
Benedict XVI did theology on his knees. His argumentation of faith was carried out with the devotion of a man who had given all of himself to God and who, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, sought ever greater insight into the mystery of the Jesus that had fascinated him since his youth. .
The collection of spiritual thoughts presented in these pages demonstrates the creative capacity of Benedict XVI to investigate the various aspects of Christianity with a fertility of images, language and perspective that become a continuous stimulus to cultivate the precious gift of welcoming God in own life. The way in which Benedict XVI was able to make heart and reason, thought and affection, rationality and emotion interact, is a fruitful model of how to speak to everyone about the disruptive force of the Gospel.
The reader will see it confirmed in these pages, which represent -also thanks to the competence of the editor, to whom our most sincere thanks go- a kind of “spiritual synthesis” of the writings of Benedict XVI: here shines his ability to always show new the depth of the Christian faith. Just a little flowery. “God is an event of love”, an expression that alone does full justice to a theology that is always harmonious between reason and affection. “What could save us if not love?” he asked young people at the Cologne prayer vigil in 2005, a meditation aptly recalled here, posing a question reminiscent of Fëdor Dostoevskij. And when he talks about the Church, his ecclesial passion makes him utter words impregnated with belonging and affection: “We are not a production center, we are not a profit-seeking company, we are the Church.”
The depth of Joseph Ratzinger’s thought, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Fathers of the Church, is a help to us today as well. These pages address a range of spiritual topics and are an encouragement for us to remain open to the horizon of eternity that Christianity carries in its DNA. That of Benedict XVI is and will continue to be a fruitful thought and magisterium over time, because he has known how to focus on the fundamental references of our Christian life: first of all, the person and word of Jesus Christ, and then the theological virtues, it is that is, charity, hope and faith. And for this the whole Church will be grateful to him. Forever.
In Benedict XVI, unceasing devotion and an enlightened magisterium have merged into a harmonious alliance. How many times has he spoken of beauty with moving words! Benedict always considered beauty as a privileged means to open men to the transcendent and thus be able to meet God, which for him was the highest task and the most urgent mission of the Church. In particular, music was for him a neighboring art with which to elevate the spirit and interiority. But this did not divert his attention, as a true man of faith, from the great and thorny questions of our time, observed and analyzed with conscientious judgment and a courageous critical spirit. By listening to Scripture, read in the ever-living tradition of the Church, he knew how to extract from his youth that useful and indispensable wisdom to establish a dialogue with the culture of his time, as these pages confirm.
We sincerely thank God for having given us Pope Benedict XVI: with his word and testimony, he has taught us that through reflection, thought, study, listening, dialogue and, above all, prayer, it is possible to serve the Church and do good to all humanity; he offered us living intellectual tools so that every believer could give reasons for his hope using a way of thinking and communicating understandable to his contemporaries. His intention was constant: to enter into dialogue with everyone to seek together the paths through which we can find God.
This search for dialogue with the culture of his time has always been an ardent desire of Joseph Ratzinger: he, first as a theologian and then as a pastor, has never limited himself to a purely intellectualist culture, detached from the history of men and the world. . With the intellectual example of him rich in love and enthusiasm, which etymologically means be in God, showed us the possibility that seeking the truth is possible, and that letting oneself be possessed by it is the highest that the human spirit can reach. On this journey, all the dimensions of the human being, reason and faith, intelligence and spirituality, have their own role and specificity.