Throughout the liturgical year, not limited to Advent, Christmas, Lent, Triduum, or the pinnacle of Easter, it is worthwhile to reflect deeply on the remarkable implications of the Paschal Mystery. In doing this, Catholics benefit to engage in spiritual reading throughout the liturgical year.
“What a wonderful mystery it is to live by the life of Christ. Jesus’ mission is to give his life so that others may live.” – Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
A selection of spiritual reading that provides a brief infusion of deep reflection at any point during the Church year is Telling the Story of Jesus: Word-Communion-Mission (Liturgical Press) by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who has served the Archdiocese of Manila in the Philippines since 2011. Cardinal Tagle is a prelate with a significant media following, including by way of his program “The Word Exposed” through Jesuit Communications, Twitter (@CardinalChito), and his appearances at Catholic liturgical events around the globe.
“In union with Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to offer our life for God; that involves dying to sin. Renunciation of sin and faith in God form the fundamental worship and sacrifice of the baptized, made possible by our sharing in the sacrifice of Jesus.”
Telling the Story of Jesus opens with a foreword from Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, and is divided into three chapters: 1) “Communion in the Word through Mary,” 2) “The Eucharist, the Life of Christ in Our Lives,” and 3) “Telling the Story of Jesus.” These three chapters are comprised of Cardinal Tagle’s reflections offered during three respective International Congresses:
- “Communion in the Word through Mary” is from the 50th International Eucharistic Congress on June 16, 2012, in Dublin, Ireland, and in this reflection, Cardinal Tagle delves into the many ways that the Virgin Mary draws us closer to her Son;
- “The Eucharist, the Life of Christ in Our Lives: Spiritual Worship and Authentic Adoration” is from the 49th International Eucharistic Congress on June 19, 2008, in Québec City, Canada, and here, Cardinal Tagle covers the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church;
- “Telling the Story of Jesus: Mission in Asia” is from the Asian Mission Congress on October 19, 2006, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Cardinal Tagle invites us to consider how it is through imparting accounts of the Lord to others that they are in turn encouraged to participate in this mission of spreading the Gospel.
“Just as a story reveals personal identity, a story of faith in Jesus reveals also the identity of the narrator as a believer. A witness who tells one’s story of encountering Jesus cannot and should not hide one’s identity as a disciple of the Savior.”
At precisely 75 pages, Telling the Story of Jesus is an easily digestible volume that can be consumed in one weekend, if not during one sitting. However, the brevity of Telling the Story of Jesus in no way connotes a lack of depth; rather, with Cardinal Tagle’s characteristic wit and warmth, the faithful are led to consider the richness of the faith insofar as it allows the Word of God to enliven the world. Whoever picks up Telling the Story of Jesus is in for a rewarding opportunity to grow closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to enjoy telling his story to others as well, with an outpouring of faith, hope, and love upon a world sorely in need of the Gospel. As Cardinal Tagle reminds us in Telling the Story of Jesus, emblematic of the joy that permeates every page of the book, and borne of the enthusiasm and zeal borne of the New Evangelization:
“Let us not forget that Jesus is alive. He is truly raised from the dead! He is with us now. He rules the world.”