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Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on the Holy Mass

by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

The celebration of the Eucharist, in which Jesus Christ becomes present, is the center of the Catholic faith. This volume brings together substantive texts of the Holy Father on the many aspects and dimensions of the Mass and the Mystery of the Eucharist, a rich source for every Christian and a spur to reflection and personal prayer. Delivered in addresses and homilies to a wide variety of audiences , these reflections reveal the depth and breadth of Pope Benedict XVI’s profound and life-long love for the Holy Eucharist.

A major theme throughout the works of Joseph Ratzinger, the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is the Church’s source of life, unity and fruitfulness. This theme has been carried deeply into his pontificate, as can be seen in this collection, which challenges the faithful to believe that by receiving Christ in Holy Communion, they are drawn not only into the very life of God, but into the community that is Christ’s Body, the Church.

“In the institution of the Eucharist we see the very foundational act of the Church. Through the Eucharist the Lord not only gives himself to his own, but gives the reality of a new community ‘until he comes’ (cf. 1 Cor 11:26). Through the Eucharist the disciples become his living house that grows through history as the living Temple of God in this world.”
— Pope Benedict XVI

"Ignatius Press has done a remarkable service by drawing these talks and homilies by Benedict XVI into one rewarding volume on the importance of the Eucharist. Clear, deep, rich and engaging: All of these qualities mark the style of the Holy Father as a teacher, and anyone reading this book will discover the joy of Christian life and the beauty of Catholic worship in a new way. I highly recommend it."
Charles Cardinal J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Denver

"The Eucharistic sacrifice makes sacramentally available Christ’s love for his Father and for us. These reflections by our Holy Father make available for our spiritual formation the truths that shape our life in Christ’s body, the Church. They bring again to our attention the wisdom born of love."
Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago

“In these collected talks we find, one might say, the quintessential Benedict. Those who have read his Jesus of Nazareth, The Spirit of the Liturgy, or other of his works, will recognize here that amazing concord which he always achieves by bringing effortlessly together sound biblical scholarship (he ranges easily over Law, prophets, Gospels, and Epistles), deep love for the Eucharist, and an unflagging pastoral tone which addresses us laity in language that we can grasp. The selections are brief, hence the volume offers readers very accessible "devotional" reading."
Thomas Howard, Author, If Your Mind Wanders at Mass

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