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God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life Paperback – September 1, 2003

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God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life + The Spirit of the Liturgy + Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898709628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898709629
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is one of the most renowned Catholic theological and spiritual writers of our times. His numerous books include God and the World, Salt of the Earth, and The Spirit of the Liturgy.

More About the Author

Born in 1927 in Germany as Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI has been head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005. A prolific author, theologian and university professor, Ratzinger served as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council, and was tapped in 1977 by Pope Paul VI to lead the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Very good book on the subject, eloquently written.
This collection of reflections and homilies on the Holy Eucharist is profound, simple, and beautiful.
Conor B. Dugan
This book by Pope Benedict XVI (though written while he was Cardinal Ratzinger) is excellent!
Matthew P. Whitehead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Arthem on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was unprepared for the breadth and beauty of Cardinal Ratzinger's sermons (homilies?) and essays concerning the Eucharist. This book wonderfully summarizes Catholic teaching and tradition, particularly by tackling modernist and traditionalist approaches to the sacrament.

The first article, "God with Us and God among Us" serves as a nice introduction to the other "chapters" in this collection, meditating upon one line in the profession of faith, and speaking directly to the Incarnation.

"God's Yes and His Love..." approaches the issue of the sacrifice Jesus made, and how it relates to the sacrificial character of the Mass. Cardinal Ratzinger addresses Christ's self-abasement for our salvation, and contrasts this against our false humility, self-limitation in freely offered grace, and suffering as a characteristic of the Church.

"The Wellspring of Life..." explores the exegetic similarities between the opening of Christ's side at His crucifixion and the removal of flesh from Adam's side in Genesis. Along the way, Cardinal Ratzinger explores the unity of the Church, and the atemporal communion encapsulated in the Eucharist, and again touches upon the issues of sacrifice.

In "Banquet of the Reconciled", the polar extremes in the discourse on liturgical evolution are examined, quite calmly and reasonably. Cardinal Ratzinger utilizes I Corinthians as the basis for a reasoned response to those who want to reduce the Mass to a simple meal of friendship and community, as well as to those who see any alteration of the form of the Mass as heretical and invalid.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Cardinal Ratzinger, the new Pope Benedict XVI, is a man whose devotion and spirituality is definitively focused upon the Eucharist. In this text, 'Gott ist uns nah: Euchariste: Mitte des Lebens', Ratzinger provides a series of essays reflecting on the importance, the mystery, and the spiritual aspects of the Eucharistic feast.

'God is with us and God is among us' is the title of the first essay, and sets the tone for Ratzinger's devotion in this regard. God in Jesus Christ took on human form to become for us a way and a light, and this same presence is available to us, not just on Sunday mornings and other times when we are in church, but throughout all our lives, according to Ratzinger. Church must mean more than simply that which happens in lofty and grand buildings a short while on a weekly basis - just as the Eucharist provides an Incarnational way for us to be in relationship with God, so too must we strive for ways to connecting our church life (ethically, spiritually, and practically) in our daily life and work.

Ratzinger shows his education and breadth of knowledge on these theological matters by drawing on sermons and essays he's written in the past, as well as reflections on biblical texts, from the Torah to the Epistles to the Acts of the Apostles as lead inspirations, and further into the heart of the gospel itself, reflected through the Paschal mystery.

Like his predecessor Pope John Paul II, Ratzinger also has a significant strand of Marian devotion - again, his first essay draws upon the incarnation as Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. 'She has an indisputable place in our belief in the living and acting God.
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66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Oswald Sobrino on June 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Cardinal Ratzinger never fails to satisfy the reader hungry for insight and depth. In this small book, which is a collection of past homilies and addresses on the Eucharist, Ratzinger discusses the Eucharist from many perspectives. For Catholics, the Eucharist is the "heart of life," as the book's subtitle states. So to deepen knowledge of the Eucharist is life-changing. For Protestants, there is no better way to see the Catholic difference, a Catholic difference shared with the Eastern Orthodox.
You can see the Catholic difference in this excerpt: "The church is not just a space in which something sometimes happens early in the morning, while for the rest of the day it stands empty, 'unused'. There is always the 'Church' in the church building, because the Lord is always giving himself, because the eucharistic mystery remains present . . . ." (p. 89). This excerpt is from the address entitled "The Presence of the Lord in the Sacrament," which, in my view, is the most compelling of all the addresses in the book.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Merlino on May 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"God is Near Us - The Eucharist the Heart of Life" is a collection of numerous homilies given by Pope Benedict XVI when he was Archbishop of Freising and Munich. The separate entries contained within this remarkable book address various questions, problems and issues related to the origin, meaning and practice of the Eucharist in the life of Christians. The issues covered include, the birth of Christ, Easter, the Mass, Eucharistic adoration, the feast of Corpus Christi, communion, the liturgy, and eternal life.

The understanding and insight demonstrated by this book is truly remarkable. With casual ease, Pope Benedict explains the Biblical and historical contexts and origins of Christian practices and doctrines. Beyond this, this book aims to identify and answer the most pressing contemporary concerns that people have about the Eucharist, the liturgy, God and the idea of an afterlife. Pope Benedict is not afraid to address very difficult religious and theological questions. But, as the Pope says in his own words (p.149-150) this book is intended to teach the faith and encourage reflection on one's personal faith, rather than be a scholarly treatment of the subjects.

If you interested in a highly readable book on Catholic beliefs, written by a respected and learned author, then this book is for you. As well, if you are curious to know why Joseph Ratzinger was chosen to be Pope, read this book and learn how capable he is. All in all, one of the best books I have read.
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