The following comes from a column by Father C.J. McCloskey, published in the National Catholic Register on December 15. Father McCloskey is an Opus Dei priest who is known for his role in the conversions of Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Bernard Nathanson, and others.
As you know, Pope Benedict has followed the example of Blessed Pope John Paul II: not simply being content with writing magisterial documents, but continuing his academic work as arguably one of the best theologians of the last century and most certainly the greatest of this new century.
The happy news is that he completed the third volume of his exegetical history Jesus of Nazareth with his new book, entitled The Infancy Narratives….
As we approach Christmas, the timing of the book’s release could not be better. It is deep in its theological content yet also leaves room for other opinions. Pope Benedict often quotes other theologians, including non-Catholic ones who might differ from his views. It is accessible to the patient reader who is interested in the early years of the Lord.
I read the 179-page book in one sitting and plan to reread it before Christmas. You may think you know the story well, but you surely will be delighted at Pope Benedict’s well-founded and sometimes-astonishing insights.
For example, in this description of the Nativity, the Holy Father beautifully connects the first moments of Jesus’ life to his last: “Mary wrapped the Child in swaddling clothes. Without yielding to sentimentality, we may imagine with what great love Mary approached her hour and prepared for the birth of her child. Iconographic tradition has theologically interpreted the manger and the swaddling clothes in terms of the theology of the Fathers. The Child stiffly wrapped in bandages is seen as prefiguring the hour of his death from the outset; he is a sacrificial victim. … The manger, then, was seen as a kind of altar.”
To read entire story, click here.
How wonderful that the Holy Father published this book so shortly before Christmas, making it an ideal gift for the faithful.
So often, we leave our catechesis on a grammar school level, which causes us to miss the significance of symbols, interpretations from the Fathers of the Church, and what the famous Bible scholar Father Ray Brown called “An Adult Christ At Christmas” — a truly excellent tome that helps us approach Christmas as grownups, not infants in terms of our spiritual approach to the great mystery of the Lord’s Nativity.
So . . . cult of death?
Yes, but in a good way, as you will see.
Father McClosky is working on giving us back the America we knew and loved by the significant contributions he is making to us all by assisting in the conversion of some of of our nation’s most resonant voices. May God bless him always in his most worthy endeavors.
converted newt gingrich?
“As we approach Christmas, the timing of the book’s release could not be better. It is deep in its theological content yet also leaves room for other opinions. Pope Benedict often quotes other theologians, including non-Catholic ones who might differ from his views. It is accessible to the patient reader who is interested in the early years of the Lord.”
the HOLY FATHER had better watch out, because the fans in here are NOT fond of ‘other opinions’ and certainly not open to ‘non-CATHOLIC’ theologians, especially those who might disagree with the POPE.
He was put in the manger (Romance language etymology), which is not the building that children think it is, but is the trough for putting animals’ feed into, because it, yes, prefigures the altar, and also the tomb, but also because he is Real Food and the manger is not for the animals but for us. We physically consume Him in a great mystery. The pelican stabs her own breast in times of famine so that her blood flows out to her chicks.