How wise and articulate is our Holy Father.
In regards to content, there is much to glean from the material inside this book; Pope Benedict immediately began transforming my understanding of Liturgy by opening my heart to a greater depth of perspective about the events of Holy Week.
Though his writing style is academic in nature, I did not find it overly verbiose or excessively challenging to the point of being unable to enjoy it. On the contrary, Pope Benedict's writing style is both elegant and accessible. It is also very conversational. I felt in the presence of an excellent teacher who sincerely wants me to understand.
While I feel this book would be a perfect accompaniment to Lent
, at any point during the year it can provide a powerful meditation on the Gospels. It is well-cited; the Scripture can be located easily, and our Holy Father also presents many viewpoints from different exegetes who have, for better or worse, offered their interpretations. His approach is very clarifying.
Finally, as much as I learned from the material, it also edified me. Each section of the different events of Holy Week (the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, for instance, or the trial of our Lord) edified me with its contemplation about how the event reveals more about our relationship with Jesus.
For example, when pondering Jesus' prayer in the garden, Pope Benedict
Across the centuries, it is the drowsiness of the disciples that opens up possibilities for the power of the Evil One. Such drowsiness deadens the soul, so that it remains undisturbed by the power of the Evil One at work in the world and by all the injustice and suffering ravaging the earth. In its state of numbness, the soul prefers not to see all this; it is easily persuaded that things cannot be so bad, so as to continue in the self-satisfaction of its own comfortable existence. Yet this deadening of souls, this lack of vigilance regarding both God's closeness and the looming forces of darkness, is what gives the Evil One power in the world. (p. 153)
Simply put: Wow. Practically every page has some sort of profound reflection like this one. I love this book and look forward to reading the past volume as well as the one he has yet to publish. God bless our Holy Father!