Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 68(3) August 2018

The Book Review

The Book Review is a New Regular Column in Semper Idem Written by a Junior Doctor (Pen Name): Gregory Scriptorum

‘Jesus of Nazareth’ by Pope Benedict XVI

semper idemWhen I was at medical school (I am a FY1 doctor now) I became curious about deepening my faith. I began by reading all the books of the New Testament and was as­tonished at their profound beauty. Soon after this, I read ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ by Pope Benedict XVI.
This is a three book series as follows:
Book 1: The infancy Narratives;
Book 2: From the Baptist in the Jordan to the Transfiguration; and
Book 3: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection.

I was enthralled by the books and they made me want to read more and more. The clarity of thought that Pope Benedict is able to convey when explaining the key events in the life of Jesus is amazing. He is able to link together history, theology, philosophy and linguistics when discussing and explaining the mysteries of the Faith. However, these books did not simply help me to understand these events academically, they were able to help me deepen my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict’s deep faith is certainly apparent in his writings, and this is a great inspiration to me.

For example, in the book ‘Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection’ Pope Benedict dedicates a few pages specifically to when Jesus dies on the cross (pages 223-226). He explains the totality of Jesus’ love for humanity so eloquently by saying “He has truly gone right to the end, to the very limit and even beyond that limit ... He has given Himself”. What a beautiful image this evokes! Pope Benedict goes on to explain that at the Crucifixion “the new cosmic liturgy is accomplished” thus understanding this mystery sacra­mentally. He then ends this section by linking Jesus’ death to the birth of the Church.

For me, understanding and loving the Faith is very important whilst working as a doctor and the book ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ has helped me to do this.

To my junior colleagues I would encourage you to go into the CTS bookshops or St Paul’s bookshops and thumb through the books until you find one which looks interesting to you. In this series in Semper Idem I will review books, which have helped me deepen my faith and might be able to help you too.