Lenten Book Review: Breakfast with Benedict

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I always appreciate a little spiritual reading during Lent. If  you haven’t incorporated this discipline into your devotions this season, it’s not too late. Here is a book with bite-sized thoughts to not overwhelm.

Who wouldn’t benefit from a visit from the Holy Father each morning as they eat their eggs? Breakfast with Benedict is the perfect simple devotional to help the faithful get to know their vicar. The daily readings can be devoured in a minute, yet chewed upon all day long.Excerpts are from a vast array of Pope Benedict XVI’s work, including his encyclicals God is Love and Called to Hope, addresses before the Angelus and general audiences at the Vatican, and messages for World Days for Youth, Peace, and more.

The topics are equally as varied, from why the Holy Father chose the name Benedict to the reality of sin in the world; reflections on faith, hope and charity to warnings of the new idolatry of success, fame, money and material goods.

I can’t imagine being worthy of critiquing Pope Benedict. One can only say that what the Holy Father writes, we in the pews ought to read. The editor of Breakfast with Benedict has done a marvelous job of making our leader’s words accessible and digestible.

A busy mother or a career-minded executive will equally appreciate the ease with which a lay person can read one page per day and gain so much knowledge about God. Any Christian who wishes to grow in faith should desire to learn from the best, and I highly recommend Pope Benedict XVI’s daily readings as a great place to take baby steps.

These 120 nuggets of thought could be read daily for about four months, but the book could also serve as a text for Lent or Advent. Once you read one page, it is hard to see the title of the next without seeing what it contains as well.

Some of my favorites include: “Caring for Creation” from a meeting with the U.S. Bishops; “St. Lawrence and the Church Treasures” from Deus Caritas Est; and “The Characteristics of an Apostle” from a September 2008 general audience.

As the one responsible for the care of the poor in Rome, Lawrence had been given a period of time, after the capture of the Pope and of Lawrence’s fellow deacons, to collect the treasures of the Church and hand them over to the civil authorities. He distributed to the poor whatever funds were available and then presented to the authorities the poor themselves as the real treasure of the Church. Whatever historical reliability one attributes to these details, Lawrence has always remained present in the Church’s memory as a great exponent of ecclesial charity. (Deus Caritas Est, 23)

The opportunity to peek into so many parts of the Holy Father’s thinking and speaking is extraordinary and not one to pass up.

You can purchase this book here or here or at your local library.

I wrote this review of Breakfast with Benedict: Daily Readings for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River (but I got this one from the library). I am an affiliate of Amazon.com.

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