This section features select texts by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI on various celebrations throughout the liturgical year. We started with a Pentcost homily given by Ratzinger, posted along with the launch of this website. Additional texts will be posted following the Church's liturgical calendar.
For spiritual reflection on the season of Advent, we present an excerpt from a homily given by Joseph Ratzinger in 1965. In it, the young theology professor describes Job as a true Advent figure. With reference to Job, Ratzinger calls on us to bring what is unredeemed in ourselves, without sugarcoating it, before God. A faith that does not do this, he notes, is basically a form of denial of faith. The text is taken from Joseph Ratzinger: Complete Works (Joseph Ratzinger Gesammelte Schriften, “JRGS”), vol. 4, p. 365ff.
With this season of the Liturgical Year she is waking our consciences, forcing us to recognize the lack of grace not assomething which happened a long time ago, and that still exists only in certain areas, but as something which is found in our midst and within the Church herself.
We live, as it were, with our eyes shut because we are afraid that our faith might not stand up to the full and blinding light of hard facts.
lt seems to me that we constantly face a certain danger: that of wanting to hide from the truth. We live, as it were, with our eyes shut because we are afraid that our faith might not stand up to the full and blinding light of hard facts. We become introverted and try not to face these facts in order not to be disturbed.
But a faith which is blind to half, or more, of reality is basically a form of denial of faith ör, at best, a very serious state of niggardly credulity, which is afraid that faith cannot compete with reality. lt does not dare to accept the fact that it is the force which conquers the world.
picture-alliance / akg-images | akg-images / Joseph Martin
Job and his friends. Illuminated manuscript, 1490. From the Hours of Louis of Orleans, later King Louis XII of France.
On the other hand, to have real faith means contemplating reality with a brave and open heart, even though this may conflict with the image which we sometimes conjure up of faith.
A typical aspect of Christian existence is that we dare to talk to God from the abyss of our darkness and temptation, just as Job did. lt is essential that we do not think only to offer God half of ourselv s (the better half) , withholding the rest for fear ofmaking him angry.
IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
Benedict XVI prays before the nativity scene erected in St. Peter’s Square. Archive photo, 2010.
No; we can and must, without beating about the bush, place before him the whole burden of our existence. We forget too readily that in the Book of Job, transmitted by Holy Scripture, God proclaims, at the end, that Job is a just man, even though he has inflicted the most severe reproaches on him, whereas his friends, despite their having defended God and sought an agreeablesolution and answer for everything, are hypocrites.
Celebrating Advent means precisely speaking to God in the same manner as Job. lt means looking bravely at the whole of reality, at the weight of our Christian existence, and presenting it before the just and redeeming face of God; but although- like Job - we can find no answer, we must trust in God for one, showing him how much we are at a loss for words in our darkness.
Headings, subheadings, and quotations are editorial insertions.