How Blessed by God We Were by Benedict XVI’s Life and Legacy| National Catholic Register

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

COMMENTARY: I think his most durable lesson will be his focus on God. He sought to lead us toward God. His homilies were doxological, focused above all on God and his glory.

Benedict XVI arrives to celebrate a mass in St Peter's Square to mark the third anniversary of the death of pope John Paul II in Vatican on April 2, 2008.
Benedict XVI arrives to celebrate a mass in St Peter’s Square to mark the third anniversary of the death of pope John Paul II in Vatican on April 2, 2008. (photo: Andreas Solaro / AFP/Getty)

Father Roger Landry CommentariesJanuary 4, 2023

In these days since the death of Pope Benedict, I’ve been pondering the influence he has had in my formation as a disciple and a priest and have been thanking God for all the blessings he gave me and the Church through this self-defined life as a “simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”

I first became aware of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger when I was a college freshman in 1988. I had always been a faithful, practicing Catholic, but I had never really taken the intellectual side of our faith that seriously. All of this changed when I got to Harvard and encountered different students and professors who were hostile against the faith, pretending that the Good News was evil news and that the Church was an enemy of humanity. I also met Catholic students who, while still coming to Mass on Sunday, were, by choice and not by weakness, proudly and flamboyantly rejecting to live by the Church’s teachings, treating, among other things, Christian sexual morality as a fire extinguisher on human love rather than the truth that sets us free.

It was a huge wake-up call. After getting ambushed in a few dormitory conversations, outnumbered five or six to one, I concluded that if I were going to defend the Church’s teachings and help my classmates, I would have to become much smarter, learning not just my faith but also contemporary thought much better.

A priest recommended I read The Ratzinger Report, Vittorio Messori’s fascinating 1985 book-length interview with the-then prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In it, Cardinal Ratzinger minced no words about the problems facing the Church and the world, but also proposed with confidence what he thought the Church needed to do to help those in the world find healing. He had such a deep and clear understanding of the cancers afflicting modern philosophy, theology and life, as well as the chemotherapy our times needed.

That led me to start to devour everything I could from him and to read the books and Church documents he cited. Standing on his shoulders in my late teens and early 20s, I could see things far more clearly. To use one of his own images, he was a master alpine climber who through his books was coming down to guide me on the path toward the summit. His expertise and experience were training me to become a better disciple and collegiate apostle.

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How Blessed by God We Were by Benedict XVI’s Life and Legacy| National Catholic Register

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