Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
In the course of my years in Rome, I was invited again and again by Bavarian Radio to give meditations on the high points of the liturgical year. Frequently, too, I was encouraged to interpret one of the great images that are so abundant in the churches of Rome. At the approach of my seventieth birthday, my brother suggested I collect these texts and see whether they might not produce a small volume that could preserve the interwoven images and thoughts beyond their airing on radio or television and thereby be of help in understanding the Christian feasts. The plan was discussed with Bavarian Radio’s advisor on Church matters, Prelate Willibald Leierseder, who had initiated most of the meditations and had selected the corresponding images, as well as with Herder publishers. So that is how this small volume originated. It is, certainly, not free of coincidental elements, but it can perhaps help us nevertheless to hear that message of hope again more clearly and to renew that inner gaze which is so often overwhelmed by the flood of images and offers that assails us.
I thank my brother, especially, Cathedral Choir Director Georg Ratzinger, without whose insistent encouragement I would not have taken up this project. I thank also Prelate Leierseder and the people at Bavarian Radio, who assigned the themes and images. I thank Verlag Herder, which exercised great care to ensure that readers might take up this little book with joy.