The Eucharistic Christology of Pope Benedict XVI

In Commemorationem Christi

Christ is truly present among us in the Eucharist. His presence is not static. It is a dynamic presence that grasps us, to make us his own, to make us assimilate him. Christ draws us to himself, he makes us come out of ourselves to make us all one with him. . . . He is the one same Christ who is present in the Eucharistic Bread of every place on earth.
— Pope Benedict XVI1

This essay focuses on his Christology and, in particular, seeks to emphasize how, unlike many of today’s theological interlocutors, Benedict immerses his Christology in a deeply Eucharistic weltanschauung. Therefore, this essay is going to focus more on how Christocentric his Eucharistic Ecclesiology is, in the hopes that the reader will be able to appreciate how a spiritual Christology cannot exist apart from a Eucharistic Ecclesiology.

A New Christ, A New Covenant

In one of his many catecheses, Benedict expounded upon Paul’s transmission of the Eucharistic Tradition in 1 Corinthians. According to Benedict, Paul writes of the faith in a manner of one handing on a treasure so precious that it has to be guarded and handed on with great care. He conveys the message with an air of such serious responsibility that one cannot help but realize the profound respect behind his words. Because of this reverence, when one reads Paul’s words, one immediately realizes that he speaks as Christ speaks through him. Paul writes, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my Body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my Blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me’” (1 Cor 11:23–35). From this text, Benedict makes two key observations. Firstly, that Paul transmits the Lord’s words on the chalice as follows: this cup is “the new covenant in my Blood.” The Greek words for new covenant, kaine diatheke, axiomatically points readers and his Jewish apostles, who heard these words at the time, to Old Testament texts. In particular, what would have come to their minds would have been nothing short of the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:31. Here, when Jesus uses these words, he officially institutes a covenant that fulfills and elevates all Old Testament covenants to the order of divine grace in himself. He essentially tells them and us: “At this very moment and henceforth, with my becoming the new Passover Lamb, the long-awaited new covenant is eternally fulfilled. The breaking of my Body, the pouring out of my Blood marks a new beginning in human history. Now begins a new, definitive age of salvation for the entire world through, with and in me.” In order to fully understand the ramifications of the words “new covenant,” however, we need to go back to the book of the Exodus. The scene is when Moses, having offered the sacrifice of two young bulls to God, collects their blood in two bowls. Here, he pours out one bowl onto the altar table and the second, he sprinkles upon the people of Israel. The significance and necessity of animal and blood sacrifice in covenant liturgy needs to be discussed at another time. For now, what is noteworthy is that, in doing so, Moses forms an adoptive relationship between Israel and God. The blood of the covenant binds them to a blood tie of kinship with God. The covenant entails so much more than legal adoption, it entails spiritual kinship with the divine God. There, at Sinai, in God’s instituting the covenant with Moses and the Israelites, Moses says: “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Ex 24:8). Back then, it was necessary for animal sacrifices to provide the blood needed in penal substitution for man who had sinned against God. Still, animal blood was always insufficient. It spoke to the longing of the soul for a vicarious atonement that would fully restore the covenant bond that had been broken before. Man needed a Christ who would be able to accomplish this fully. Christ is the true sacrifice. His alone is the true worship. With the gift of his Body and Blood, he endows all mankind with a love so eternal, so powerful that in envelopes all of the world into the new and eternal covenant. There is no Christology higher than this. If creation is for the covenant then Christ’s recreation finds its culmination in the Eucharistic pouring out of his very self. In this act, he creates the world anew and conforms us to himself.

Christ Poured Out for Us

Because of this intrinsic union between Jesus’s Messiahship, his Paschal Mystery and his Eucharistic Sacrifice, Benedict writes that “[Christ] is continuously on his way toward the Cross, toward the lowliness of the servant of God, suffering and killed.”2 Gone are all assertions that Jesus had to grow into the full revelation of his mission, of what it truly meant to be Christ. Instead, Christ had, since the time of his incarnation, the shadow of the Cross looming upon him. Throughout his whole earthly life, he both anticipated it and embraced it. At the same time, however, this Christ who, in his whole life, gradually walked the road to Calvary, also walked into the vastness of all the world. His ministry, his Messiahship, was to proclaim a new era for the Covenant. God would cease to be the “God of our Fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (cf. Ex 3:6). In the coming of Christ, God becomes Father to us. The New Covenant moves from the adoption of a nation as his people to the return of a people as his children. In this light, Christ “precedes us as the Risen One, so that the light of his words and the presence of his love may shine forth in the world; he is on the way so that through him, the Crucified and Risen Christ, God himself, may arrive in the world.”3

Herein lies the second point that Benedict highlights from the Pauline text. When Paul writes, “the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:16–17), Benedict asserts that the Eucharist and true Christology necessarily entails both our individual salvation and corporate sanctification of all members of his Body. In the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, Christ personally unites himself with each of us individually. At the same time, because Christ is so mysteriously united to those around us, we are inevitably united to them in him. This mystery then becomes a metaphysical reality: that Christ and his entire family are inseparably one in the Eucharist. It is in this that we all become one bread and one body. This reality then becomes one that transcends our physical limitations of time and space. Benedict continues:

An encounter with Christ always requires the three dimensions of time and a stepping beyond time into that which is its origin and its future. When we set out to find the true Jesus, we must be prepared for this broad span. . . . We will have to listen to the sources which testify to that beginning, and thereby correct our present age when it loses its way in its own ideals.4

In the Eucharist, Benedict is saying, we come to encounter not only Christ himself, but all who have gone before us and even those who will come after us. The celebration of the Eucharist is literally timeless. Encountering Christ truly sets one on the path of this broad horizon: I am a part of the Church in its fullest breadth. The onus, therefore, is upon us to ensure that we attest to a true Christology that is grounded in a Eucharistic Ecclesiology, not just for our own sake, but for the sake of the sanctification of the Church and the world. A Eucharist without this sense of solidarity with others is a Eucharist abused, according to Benedict. This is the heart of the doctrine of the Church as the Body of the Risen Christ.

Because of this, when we, children of God in the New Covenant, come to receive of our Lord and Saviour in the gift of his Eucharist, the immensity of the act meant “ entering into a community of being with Christ, it means entering through that opening in human nature through which God is accessible-which is the precondition for human beings opening up to one another in a really deep way. Communion with God is the path to interpersonal communion among men . . . only in the context of a spiritual Christology will the spirituality of the sacrament reveal itself to us.”5 To be one with God in this covenant, is to be one with him and his entire family. It means to call all children of God our kin. If that is true, then in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, we are all united in covenant bond. The sufferings of any one of the members of the Body become, at once, the sufferings of the other members and the sufferings of Christ himself. “The Church – and, in her, Christ – still suffers today. In her, Christ is again and again taunted and slapped.”6 In particular, Benedict highlights that the sufferings of the Church and, thereby, of Christ himself, are seen most evidently in false beliefs that seek to reject the way of Christ. He states that, across millennia, “again and again, an effort is made to reject him from the world. Again and again, the little barque of the Church is ripped apart by the winds of ideologies, whose waters seep into her and seem to condemn her to sink.”7 Yet, Holy Mother Church is not without hope. A true Christology necessitates an immersion in this reality: it is the Cross that paves the way to the Crown. It is Calvary that is the gateway to revelry. It is “precisely in the suffering Church, that Christ is victorious.”8 Thereby, as children of the one new covenant, we, more than any others, are in a position to perceive the full realism of the mystery of Christ and his Church. In his Eucharist, Christ’s Body broken for us takes us up into his own Risen Body.

Here is where the consumption of Christ in the Eucharist far supersedes our consumption of other foods. Benedict writes that “if man eats ordinary bread, in the digestive process this bread becomes part of his body, transformed into a substance of human life. But in Holy Communion, the inverse process is brought about. Christ, the Lord, assimilates us into himself, introducing us into his glorious Body, and thus we all become his Body.”9 The twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians, when seen in full context with its tenth chapter, illustrates such a metaphysical realism to the Sacrament of the Eucharist that the Church as Christ’s Body takes on a deeper, marital significance. Christ very truly breaks his Body and sheds his Blood that he might make of us his Body and his Blood. This meaning might be lost to us in the scheme of our present day corporate-sociological-political milieu. In this framework, the individual is part of institutions. They are members of inorganic entities that serve particular, limited functions. Their hierarchy is at the service of accomplishment of tasks. The Church reverses and transcends this reality. She is a body, and not just any body, she is the Body of God the Son himself. “She is not merely an organization but a real organism.”10 Every living member within her lives and labors for the sake of Christ and for their own collective sanctification. This is why Liturgy is the most important work of the Church. In a sense, Eucharistic Liturgy is the only work of the Church. Benedict posits that

“the proclamation and hearing of the faith of the Church, of the word of God that is alive in her . . . thus becomes the basis for liturgical and living fellowship: it reaches a climax in the eucharistic encounter with the Lord, who gives himself to us as bread and resounds in songs of praise. The Church is adoration. . . . [She] subsists as Liturgy in Liturgy.”11

Worship of the one, true Christ is the the font and absolute summit of the Christian life. Liturgy is absolutely central to her growth, recreation, renewal and sustenance. According to Benedict, there is no greater reality. The entirety of Ecclesial Christian life flows from this Christological mystery. The life of Holy Mother Church and her children come from and go right back to the real presence of her bridegroom, Christ, in her.

The Eternal Presence of the Risen Christ

Benedict’s Christology, therefore, is inseparable from Eucharistic Ecclesiology, and rightly so. “The Eucharist is the living and actual presence of the Risen One who permanently communicates himself in the event of the Passion and, thus, is our life.”12 To call ourselves Christian, to call ourselves children of the new covenant, to call ourselves members of the Body is to be intimately entwined into Christ’s passion. The true Christ has to be one who is willing and able to pay the eternal debt that man owed while still being himself one who owed no such debt. The Eucharist is that commemoration. It is the reliving of that felix dies, that happy day when man and God entered once again into familial covenant. “The Eucharist itself is, therefore, the ‘day of the Lord’.”13 To achieve that, Christ was willing to pour out his entire being, to undergo a kenosis, an emptying like no other man before or after him. While it is tempting to draw to mind images of his Crucifixion, the reality is that his ministry was strewn with foreshadowings of the lonely road to the Cross that he alone would have to walk. Benedict demonstrates how, as early as the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John, Christ began to experience this abandonment by his fellow man, the very ones he came to redeem and sanctify. Benedict writes,

Indeed, [Christ] showed his readiness to accept even desertion by his apostles, while not in any way changing the substance of his discourse [that true union with him entailed eating of his Body and Blood]: “Do you want to leave me too?” (Jn 6:67), he asked. Thanks be to God, Peter’s response was one that even we can make our own today with full awareness, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). We need a God who is close, a God who puts himself in our hands and who loves us.14

And God is such a God. Because good is diffusive of itself, and because God’s Love is such a perfect, profound good, God not only emptied himself and made himself close with his, he quite literally made himself one with us in all ways except sin. (cf. Heb 4:15) that we may come to consummate an intimate encounter with him in Liturgy. At the heart of Christ’s entire economy of salvation was the Cross and at the heart of the Cross is the gift of his Eucharist for us. This is precisely why there can be no Church, no Body, without an explicit, uttermost reverence for Eucharistic Liturgy. Benedict argues:

When the Church, in fact, purportedly holds that the act of gathering is more important than the Eucharist, then the Eucharist itself, is, in truth, nothing other than a ‘gathering’. . . . [In doing so] the reality of Church is now reduced to a manmade product, and here we find the sad outlook of [the French Sociologist Emile] Durkheim confirmed, according to which religion and worship are nothing but, in general, forms of social stabilization through processes of self-identification.15

Benedict is essentially saying that if we are to reclaim a true Christological love for our fellow man, a true sociological reform, then it has to begin in Eucharistic Liturgy that holds the Blessed Sacrament in absolute, unmitigated reverence. The first step to doing this, according to Benedict, is in realizing that Liturgy is only secondarily what we do for God. Primarily and essentially, the Eucharistic Liturgy is “actio Dei which draws us into Christ through the Holy Spirit,” and it is precisely because it is actio Dei that “its basic structure is not something within our power to change, nor can it be held hostage by the latest trends.”16 Herein lies the beauty behind the ad orientem modus of celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Benedict has much to say on the matter and a fuller discourse of it may be found in chapter two, “Sacred Places of his Spirit of the Liturgy.”17 There, Benedict writes how “in the early Church, prayer toward the east was regarded as an apostolic tradition. . . . Orientation is, first and foremost, a simple expression of looking to Christ as the meeting place between God and man. It expresses the basic Christological form of our prayer.”18 Here, the pristineness of Benedict’s Christology shines forth. A true Christian Christology, according to Benedict, is not merely grounded in the Eucharist as Sacrament but in the reality that it is enshrined in Liturgical worship of Christ. To that end, the basic Christological form of the prayer of the Church is expressed both physically and spiritually when she is, as one corporate body, ordering her entire self to facing the east, where the rising sun shows itself to be a symbol of her bridegroom: the Rising Son. To that end, Liturgy is still actio Dei, and, as such, it is the Holy Spirit within us who orders us to look to Christ as the source and summit of the Church’s life. Liturgy is not to be trifled with. To Benedict, the Church IS Liturgy. To that end, Benedict quotes of Paul, “no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11). Yet again, the Apostle to the Gentiles reminds the Church across the ages that the Eucharistic Liturgy that he teaches and lives is entirely not his own. He lives a grace that has been given to him (cf. 1 Cor 11:23). This is the reception and transmission of a Tradition so alive that it is contained in the perpetual action of the Church. Eucharistic worship of the Christ of God necessitates a living Tradition, handed down and preserved, precisely because it is the Sacrificium Deo (Sacrifice of God) performed as an actio Dei (action of God) for the sake of the Populo Dei (People of God). The Church celebrates her Christ not merely out of jubilation but principally in obedience to his command. She has experienced him, living and true, and she commemorates him in the fractio panis, the breaking of the bread. In that action, in his action, she becomes configured and conformed to him, being created anew in each Eucharistic Liturgy. Benedict writes,

For this reason, from the beginning, the Christian community has gathered for the fractio panis on the Lord’s Day. Sunday, the day Christ rose from the dead, is also the first day of the week, the day which the Old Testament tradition saw as the beginning of God’s work of creation. The day of creation has now become the day of the “new creation,” the day of our liberation when we commemorate Christ who died and rose again.19

This is what it means to be a Christological tradition. In celebrating her Christ, in becoming more like him, the reality of the Christ becomes more than a professed belief, Christ becomes a daily, lived experience. Christianity becomes a daily encounter with the Christ, Jesus. Lex orandi, lex vivendi. The manner in which we pray is the way we shall live. Because of this, “in the fundamental prayer of the Church, the Eucharist, the heart of our life, is not merely expressed but is realized day after day.”20

Christ, the One Saviour of All Mankind

It is here that Benedict calls for a reconsideration of the meaning of Christology by bringing us back to the origin of the term. Christology is “what is disclosed in Christ, whom faith certainly presents as unique, is not only a speculative exception; what is disclosed in truth is what the riddle of the human person really intends.” What Benedict is saying here is profound but it may be summed up in a twofold deliberation. On the one hand Christology is all that is revealed by the Christ incarnate, i.e. in the person of Jesus. On the other hand, we cannot pretend that knowledge of Christ is to stay on the level of speculative consideration. In Christ is the fullest expression of the human person. Christ is who man is made to be. Christ is who man is supposed to be. This is exactly why Sacred Scripture calls him “the last Adam” or “the second Adam.” This movement into a Christological realism, where Christ is more than just a lofty idea, where he is a true person to be encountered, loved, remembered and lived with encapsulates what Christianity means. A true Christology, according to Benedict “characterizes [Christ] as the true fulfillment of the idea of the human person, in which the direction of the meaning of this being comes fully to light for the first time.”21

To reclaim this identity, Benedict leads us back into the depths of Sacred Scripture. He demonstrates a reverential humility before the text of holy writ, he demonstrates how it is impossible for the Church to understand Jesus as Christ without reading Sacred Scripture ex corde ecclesiae, from the heart of the Church. A true humble submission to the inspired Word of God as written through true human authors is indicative of a real preparedness of the human heart to receive its Lord. This submission to God’s word speaks of a willingness to have “our dreams torn from us and to bow to reality” that is the person of Christ; this is a necessary prerequisite for anyone who wishes to encounter the real person of Christ, and nowhere is this made more possible in our present age than in celebrating and receiving him in the Eucharistic Sacrament.22

In light of that movement, Benedict, in his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, calls for a radical shift in emphasizing the relationship between Eucharistic encounter with Christ and an evangelical zeal for the proclamation of this Christ. The Word heard, experienced and consumed must be a Word proclaimed and lived. One who has fallen in love with Jesus cannot help but want to tell the world of him and to bring others to him. This is what Benedict calls “the ultimate content of our proclamation. [For] the more ardent the love for the Eucharist in the hearts of the Christian people, the more clearly will they recognize the goal of all mission: to bring Christ to others.”23 Christian proclamation is, to Benedict, so much more than a theory or notion to be discussed within the classroom. Christian proclamation is rooted in and returns to the gift of the very person of Christ. Benedict goes so far as to say that “anyone who has not shared the truth of love with his brothers and sisters has not yet given enough. The Eucharist, as the sacrament of our salvation, inevitably reminds us of the unicity of Christ and the salvation that he won for us by his blood.”24 In other words, by virtue of our own encounter with Christ, we now owe the world the debt of evangelization. The proclamation of the gospel is far more than a passive notion, it is an active command. The Church cannot proclaim a true Christology when so many of her children are being led astray by the numerous false Christologies of the world, no matter how well-intentioned the latter is. Nay, “the mystery of the Eucharist, believed in and celebrated, demands a constant catechesis on the need for all to engage in a missionary effort centered on the proclamation of Jesus as the one Saviour.”25 It is only in the reclaiming of a deeply Eucharistic Christology that the purely sociological notions of the modern world, appealing as they might appear to be, will be shown for what they are: inauthentic. The most crucial work of man is Liturgy. The direction of this Liturgy is necessarily Eucharistic. Only then can man begin to become fully human and, thus, fully alive. This is what the Lord’s call to evangelization necessitates.26

Benedict goes on to tell us why this is imperatively necessary, to the point of urgency by citing the Doctor of Grace. He writes that, for Augustine,

[the victorious] Christ, the one who ascended, also remains the one who descended. He stands on the side of both the God who gives and the men and women who receive. He is the head and the body, giving from the side of God and receiving from the side of humanity. . . . this is what joins ecclesiology and Christology. In the Church, he remains the one who descends. The Church is Christ as the one who descended, a continuation of the humanity of Jesus Christ.”27

There is no other direction for man. If Christianity is to be as its name states, the way of Christ, then to be Christological means to reclaim the heart of his teaching and command. True Christology must, of necessity, be contained in a properly Eucharistic Ecclesiology. Most of all when we consider that the work of the Church, her Liturgy, as mentioned above is truly actio Dei. Benedict explores this notion deeper in writing that, “At the most profound level, the Eucharist has to do with Christ alone. He prays for us; he puts his prayer on our lips, for only he can say: This is my Body — This is my Blood.”28 It is this that allows us to be drawn into Christ’s interior life. Christ living in us, Christ working in us, Christ praying in us, Christ drawing our very beings into worship of the one true God. This is what Paul meant when he proclaimed at the Aeropagus, “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). This is more than passively receiving existence (being) from God. This is far more than metaphysical passivity. It is supernatural reality. In the Eucharistic Liturgy, God actively works in us to will and to act for his good pleasure (cf. Phil 2:13). Hence, Benedict notes that it is only “thus [that Christ] draws us into his life, into the act of eternal love by which he gives himself up to the Father, so that we are made over into the Father’s possession with him and that through this very act Jesus Christ himself is bestowed upon us.”29 In this reality, we come to see how the Eucharist is very truly sacrifice, both on our part and on Christ’s. The Eucharistic Liturgy entails “being given up to God in Jesus Christ and thereby at the same time having the gift of his Love bestowed on us, for Christ is both the giver and the gift.”30 This is what it means to be conformed to the image of the Son of God (cf. Rom 8:29). This is what it means to be Christian. This is what a properly Christian Christology necessitates: that “through him, and with him, and in him we celebrate the Eucharist.”31 Only in this experience of Christ in the Eucharist will we come to live a Christology that is supernaturally alive in us. Christ continues to work in us, redeeming us, sanctifying us by his spirit, winning us into life eternal. In fact, it is precisely “because the Eucharist is concerned only with Christ, [that] it is a sacrament of the Church.”32 She can only celebrate that which she has been given by her bridegroom. Hence, even if we never pick up a single book on Christology, all we need do is to prayerfully celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy in utmost joy. For Benedict, this is all that Christology within a Eucharistic Ecclesiology means: “In the Eucharist . . . Christ is the head of the Church, which he wins evermore with his blood.”33

Source and Summit: The Person of Christ

The Eucharist continues God’s act of recreation. Man is in an every moving sequence from potency to act and it is precisely “in the sacrament of the altar, [that] the Lord meets us, men and women created in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:27), and becomes our companion along the way.”34 The God of all creation chooses to make himself real sustenance for man in this Blessed Sacrament because this is the only food available for man’s soul. Man hungers for truth and freedom and “since only the truth can make us free (cf. Jn 8:32), Christ becomes for us the food of truth,” making of himself the only meal that satisfies our inmost hunger.35 Here is the mystery of transcendentals. The human soul is made with a longing for God and transcendentals aid in this journey unto the divine, acting as signposts that compel the immaterial soul to the immaterial God. Christ, particularly in the Eucharist, is, par excellence, that Truth, Good, and Beauty. Benedict acknowledges this by drawing from St. Augustine as follows:

With deep human insight, Saint Augustine clearly showed how we are moved spontaneously, and not by constraint, whenever we encounter something attractive and desirable. Asking himself what it is that can move us most deeply, the saintly Bishop went on to say: “What does our soul desire more passionately than truth?” Each of us has an innate and irrepressible desire for ultimate and definitive truth. The Lord Jesus, “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6), speaks to our thirsting, pilgrim hearts, our hearts yearning for the source of life, our hearts longing for truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth in person, drawing the world to himself.36

In the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, man finds God in Christ. In finding Christ, man finds his neighbor. In finding Christ, man finds himself as he should be. “Christ gives himself in the Eucharist, and he is entirely present in each place, so that wherever the Eucharist is celebrated, the whole mystery of the Church is present. But in all places, Christ is only one.”37 For Benedict, this encapsulates the entire mystery of Christianity. The Eucharist, per Benedict, is the epitome of all Christology. “In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Jesus shows us in particular the truth about the love which is the very essence of God. It is this evangelical truth which challenges each of us and our whole being.”38 In final consideration, if seeking Christ has its end in becoming like him that man might come to behold God in the beatific vision, then just as Christ himself was emptied out in kenosis, man must encounter a kenosis of self that he may fully be assimilated into the person of Christ. Benedict utilizes material sustenance, food, to bring our meditation of Eucharistic Christology to a close:

this special food, the Eucharist, is above man and stronger than man. Consequently the whole process involved in [the assimilation of sustenance] is reversed: the man who eats this bread is assimilated by it, taken into it; he is fused into this bread and becomes bread, like Christ himself.39

True Christian Christology compels man to become like the Christ he seeks, to lay down his life as Christ did, to give of himself as this Christ did, to make of himself food for the life of the world (cf. Jn 6:51), that in losing one’s life, one may find it in Christ (cf. Mt 16:25), beholding the face of God for eternity (cf. Rev 22:4).

  1. Pope Benedict XVI, Heart of the Christian Life: Thoughts on the Holy Mass (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 15.
  2. Benedict XVI, Heart of the Christian Life, 58.
  3. Benedict XVI, Heart of the Christian Life, 58.
  4. Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Volume 2: Christology and Anthropology, eds. David L. Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013), 84.
  5. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Behold the Pierced One: An Approach to a Spiritual Christology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986).
  6. Benedict XVI, Heart of the Christian Life, 58.
  7. Benedict XVI, Heart of the Christian Life, 58.
  8. Benedict XVI, Heart of the Christian Life, 58.
  9. Pope Benedict XVI, Saint Paul (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2017).
  10. Benedict XVI, Saint Paul.
  11. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003).
  12. Ratzinger in Communio, 125.
  13. Ratzinger in Communio, 125.
  14. Benedict XVI, Heart of the Christian Life, 15.
  15. Ratzinger in Communio, 137.
  16. Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum caritatis (hereafter SC; Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2007), 37.
  17. I genuinely recommend reading the whole book, if you have not already.
  18. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2014), 69.
  19. SC 37.
  20. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  21. Ratzinger in Communio, 114.
  22. Ratzinger in Communio, 84.
  23. SC 86.
  24. SC 86.
  25. SC 86.
  26. SC 86.
  27. Ratzinger in Communio, 181. Emphasis added.
  28. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us. Emphasis added.
  29. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  30. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  31. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  32. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  33. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  34. SC 2.
  35. SC 2.
  36. SC 2.
  37. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  38. Ratzinger, God Is Near Us.
  39. Ratzinger, Behold the Pierced One.
Marcus Benedict Peter About Marcus Benedict Peter

Marcus Benedict Peter hails from Malaysia and has been involved in teaching, faith formation, missionary work, and evangelization of the Faith since 2008. He has ministered and spoken in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, India, and the United States. In 2018, he received his MA in Theology at Ave Maria University, Florida. Marcus regularly writes and creates content for his website,, where he does work on Catholic biblical theology, apologetics, and evangelization. At present, Marcus and his bride, Stephanie Mae Peter, live in South Lyon, MI. Marcus teaches Theology at Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor, MI.