Fr. Kenan B. Osborne, OFM

January 5, 2022

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, compiled this book from many of his sermons and retreat conferences. His goal was to present Christian living on a day-to-day basis. There are 48 small chapters in this book, and these small chapters are divided into four major themes: The first fourteen small chapters center on one’s spiritual efforts: “How We Can Encounter Jesus.” The second section has only eight small chapters, and the centering theme for these reflections is: “How Can We Manifest the Light of Jesus.” The third section centers on the six churches mentioned in the Apocalypse. Pope Francis asks us to put ourselves in the presence of Jesus and let the words of these seven letters bring us consolation and comfort, and he opens up before us the symbols described in each of the letters. The first letter to the church at Ephesus is entitled “Recapturing the First Love.” In each of his reflections, Pope Francis helps us reclaim our love for Jesus. The final section is the longest, written in eighteen small reflections. In these reflections Pope Francis takes us through a variety of human moments in which we might either doubt our spiritual strength or find our strength in Jesus.

When I read these forty-eight small reflections, I had to stop after each one of them since each of the reflections touches on powerful aspects of spirituality. I came to the conclusion that this book should be read, not in one or two days, but in forty-eight days. Each day, I could read a single reflection in the morning and meditate on it during the remainder of the day.

In these small but powerful meditations, Pope Francis centers us on a brief passage from the New Testament. Often, these passages contain an admonition from Jesus himself. Then, Pope Francis begins to explain Jesus’ message in a way that involves our contemporary spiritual life. What Jesus said makes sense to us today, in our days of trial and sadness and in our days of joy and love.

I truly believe that the words of Pope Francis in each of these small meditations need to be read slowly, with a time to think and rethink the meaning of what he says. This small volume is much more a book which needs to be read little by little, with intervals of careful meditation. For busy people, today, this small book can be a solid basis for one’s day-by-day spiritual response to Jesus’ call to each one of us. Pope Francis’ reflections touch on aspects of our modern life and these reflections help us in a rich way to grow in a day-by-day form of down-to-earth spirituality.

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