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Posted June 17, 2014

Book: The Vision of Saint John XXIII
Author: Randall S. Rosenberg
Paulist Press. Mahwah, NJ. 2014. Pp. 141

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Rather than a chronological account of John XXIII's words and actions, The Vision of John XXIII captures the major themes that shaped the multifaceted vision of the saint's life and legacy. Drawing on a wide range of thinkers and ideas, each chapter explores the meaning of the key elements of John XXIII's vision. The thematic treatment is ideal for both educational and pastoral needs, and outlines the development and continuity of thought that is often overlooked in subsequent popes. Finally, The Vision of Saint John XXIII focuses on the saint's "Catholic imagination" and his lifelong relationship with the saints and the great reforming popes.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Recall Pope John's ongoing reflection on his call to be a humble pastor rather than a worldly diplomat. John's deep reflection on humility bears a similar tenor to Gregory's. Gregory reflects:

"Therefore, humility is to be preserved in the heart and discipline preserved in works. But in this respect, we must skillfully balance things so that while we supervise with the virtue of humility, we do not relax just supervision. Because if a leader lowers himself more than is proper, he will not be able to affect the lives of the laity through the bond of discipline. Let spiritual directors, then, uphold externally what they undertake for the benefit of others and let them retain internally what scares them about their own condition. Nevertheless, the laity should perceive, through subtle signs that appear at the proper times, that their spiritual directors are humble."

Gregory navigates here the tension between the call for pastoral ministers to be humble without becoming lax, to be gentle without reducing pastoral ministry to mere affirmation.

Table of Contents:

1. Pastoral vision

2. Catholic imagination

3. A builder of bridges

4. Ecumenical and interreligious vision

5. Political imagination

6. A joyful presence

Conclusion: John XXIII for the Third Millennium

John XXIII Timeline