Friday, December 26, 2008

The Apostles: A Review

I got a review copy of The Apostles by Pope Benedict XVI from the Catholic Company. As noted on my sidebar, I am part of their reviewer program.

The Apostles begins with a chapter about the origins of the Church and it in the Holy Father discusses the apostolic origins of the Church and quotes and references scripture to support his points. He has chapters about communion, both meaning the Eucharist and meaning the community and relates it to both scripture and Tradition.

The second part of the book devotes a chapter to each of the twelve apostles (except Simon and Jude who share a chapter and Judas and Matthias who share another). The chapter reviews how each appears in scripture (with references)and, if there is noted tradition about the apostle, that is referenced too. For example we learn the traditional belief that Peter was crucified upside down, and that Thomas was a missionary to India. The Pope also reviews what we can learn from each apostle. For example, in discussing Nathanael, Pope Benedict XVI said "Nathanael's reaction suggests another thought to us: in our relationship with Jesus, we must not be satisfied with words alone....we ourselves must then be personally involved in a close and deep relationship with Jesus...." (p146).

The book is a compilation of some General Audiences of the Pope--speeches he made to the general faithful for the purposes of instruction.

One aspect of this book that makes it ideal for gift giving is the illustrations. It is lavishly illustrated with prints of classical art, primarily from churches, showing the apostles and Christ. An art lover could enjoy the book without reading a single word.

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