Pope Benedict XVI’S new book, “The Infancy Narrative: Jesus of Nazareth”, which he authored in his personal name takes humanity to a new level of appreciation of the mission of the Holy Family of Nazareth in the world.
His comparism of Matthew and Luke’s narratives in the synoptic gospel of the infancy of Jesus illumines my mind about the road which my family members and I, and indeed all family members, must take to journeying towards God. He presents to me, and indeed to all Christians and non-Christian alike in very clear language, the way Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in the world, helping everyone to understand that the essence of life is that of discerning God’s message and taking positive but quick steps to carry out the “mission” which God Himself has sent one.
The book re-emphasizes that God’s message can be received directly from Him through signs and wonders, just like the way Jesus received His message in the form of a dove descending and resting on his shoulder and an invisible voice of God which was a great wonder for all, speaking to John the Baptist and the world about Christ being His Beloved son which everyone must listen to.
What about the Angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary with a message from God confirming that she will bear a son by the Holy Spirit whose name must be Jesus? This confirms to me that God can also send any angel or anybody for that matter to deliver His message to me. Likewise Joseph’s dream which indicates also that human beings can receive God’s message through dream.
The important thing in all these is how to quickly discern God’s message and going further to work with Him in carrying out the purpose for which He created one. To accomplish this, the book reminds me of the need to be in haste longing for God in all that I do. That this should be a prerequisite in my planning , and the follow up actions, knowing quite well that I need to take on board the virtues of humility, simplicity, obedience, self-abandonment, patience, agape love, prayerfulness, thanksgiving, freedom, self-control, hard work, steadfastness in prayer, etc. as exemplified by Jesus, Mary and Joseph while carrying out my mission here on earth. This message came as a Christmas gift to me as I read it through the Christmas season.
The Holy father gives me a clear indication in the book that whenever I commit sin, I exile myself from the presence of God, and that I also have a duty to use the freedom which God has freely given me to reconcile myself with Him without procrastination, and that when I achieve this, I will certainly find myself in the warm embrace of the Father in heaven from whom I will experience peace which this world cannot give; true freedom which He gives freely to those who return to Him and the security of life which He gives to His children, eliminating fear from their lives.
The book has also prepared me to using it as a spiritual tool to develop my faith in this Year of Faith, as well as using it as a resource material from which I can derive new spiritual strength for the prosecution of the Holy Family Society’s program now being detailed out in its new evangelization project. This is my reading of the Pope’s message in his new book, which I also have a duty to share with everyone.