Meeting Jesus and Following Him: A Retreat Given to Pope Benedict XVI and the Papal Household
Drawn from his talks given to Pope Benedict and his associates at the Curia's Lenten Retreat, Cardinal Arinze's book offers spiritual exercises focusing on the meaning of the priestly life. "The red thread which will run through all these meditations," writes Cardinal Arinze, "is the image of the priest who, called by Jesus, meets him, follows him and seeks each day to become a better disciple." Although Cardinal Arinze refers to "priests," he insists that much of what he says applies to anyone in ordained ministry-deacons, priests and bishops. In fact, even lay people and religious can benefit from prayerfully reading his reflections on being a disciple of the Lord. "For every human being, for every Christian, and even more for every priest, Jesus Christ gives meaning to life," writes Cardinal Arinze. "He gives a sense of unity to all the things in which we are engaged. Jesus indicates the correct direction for our life because he is the way, the truth and the life (cf Jn 14:6). In these meditations we shall have in front of us the priest who meets Jesus and follows him." Cardinal Arinze considers how the priest learns from Jesus to put God in first place. The author then reflects on the priesthood in light of the great mystery of the Incarnation, before turning to consider the gift of Christ which is his Mystical Body, the Church, and the great need for evangelization, to which the priest has a special call. Next, the cardinal takes up the theme of the Holy Eucharist and the celebration of the sacred liturgy, as well as the Liturgy of the Hours and the Sacraments, as instruments of Christ and his ministers for the holiness of all. The themes of social justice, peace, and solidarity are then examined, as is the role of the Mother of Christ as she declares, "Do whatever he tells you." Finally, Cardinal Arinze considers the text from Ecclesiastes 3:2, which speaks of "a time to be born, and a time to die." He discusses the Christian's preparation for death and what this means for a priest.
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