Thursday, March 1, 2012

'My Brother the Pope'

Georg Ratzinger, brother of Pope Benedict XVI,  revealed intimate moments of their childhood and his relationship with his brother.  Michael Hesemann's week-long interview with the Pope's brother provides the material for their book, "My Brother the Pope."  Ratzinger speaks in great detail about their Catholic upbringing which included attending daily mass, family prayer, and celebrations of the great Christian feasts.

"In our family, though, it was not only Christmas that was marked by the deep faith of our parents and the religious customs of our homeland. From our parents we learned what it means to have a firm grasp of faith in God. Every day we prayed together, and in fact before and after each meal (we ate our breakfast, dinner and supper together)."

Ratzinger attributes the faith of him and his brother to their parents devotion and piety. The practice of daily prayer and devotion was instrumental in creating the deep faith of the Ratzingers.  It is this daily commitment to faith that Ratzinger feels is lacking in many Christian families.

"I am convinced that the lack of this traditional piety in many families is also a reason why there are too few priestly vocations today. Many people in our time practice a form of atheism rather than the Christian faith. In some respects, they may maintain a sort of vestigial religiosity; perhaps they still go to Mass on the major feast days, but this rudimentary faith long ago ceased to permeate their lives, and it has no bearing on their everyday routine."

Faith is not only reserved for Sundays or feast days.  The Christian life calls each person to live out their faith daily in their actions, their words, and in prayer.  Faith needs to become a part of everyday routine.

To read more on Ratzinger's childhood in the Huffington Post, click here, and to read more of Michael Hesemann's reflections on the interview, click here.

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