Monday, August 04, 2008

God and the World by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

I'm really enjoying this second book in a serious of interviews that Pope Benedict XVI had with Peter Seewald while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger. This one was written in 2002 and has a rather personal tone in answering questions about what sort of relationship we should have with God and how He moves in our lives and in our world.

Here's a sample:

Is there some particular language that God uses sometimes to say to us, in quite a concrete way, "Yes, do that." Or, again: "Hold on, there - last warning! Just leave it alone!"

God speaks quietly. But he gives us all kinds of signs. In retrospect, especially, we can see that he has given us a little nudge through a friend, through a book, or through what we see as a failure - even through "accidents". Life is actually full of these silent indications. If I remain alert, then slowly they piece together a consistent whole, and I begin to feel how God is guiding me.

When you yourself talk with God, is that something that has become as easy and obvious as making a phone call?

In some respects one can make the comparison. I know that he is always there. And he knows in any case who I am and what I am. Which is all the more reason for me to feel the need to call on him, to share my feelings with him, to talk with him. With him I can exchange views on the simplest and most intimate things, as well as on those that are weightiest and of great moment. It seems, somehow, normal for me to have occasion to talk to him all the time in everyday life.

On these occasions, does God always behave respectfully, or does he let you see he has a sense of humor?

I believe he has a great sense of humor. Sometimes he gives you something like a nudge and says, Don't take yourself so seriously! Humor is in fact an essential element in the mirth of creation. We can see how, in many matters in our lives, God wants to prod us into taking things a bit more lightly; to see the funny side of it; to get down off our pedestal and not to forget our sense of fun.
It's a hefty book, but very approachable, particularly since the interview style divides the text into nice manageable chunks (generally one or two paragraphs each).

Anyway, Ignatius Press is having a huge clearance sale through the end of the month (while supplies last) that include a number of the Holy Father's books for 50-75% off. God and the World, normally a $20 book, is just $5! Check out their website here: and click on "Sale Items" near the top of the page.

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