“Benedict XVI was a spiritual master,” writes Robert Cardinal Sarah of his longtime mentor, after his death early 2023. “His very precise and profound theological thought is rooted in an authentic mystical and spiritual experience.” This book offers not an academic analysis of Ratzinger’s intellectual work, but a personal sketch of the “soul of Joseph Ratzinger”, a glimpse into “the secret recesses of his heart”.
In He Gave Us So Much, Cardinal Sarah traces the spiritual contours of Ratzinger’s life and thought, revealing the image of a man on fire with love for God and neighbor. Benedict XVI was no professor in an ivory tower, but a shepherd and pastor, with the heart of a father. For him, prayer and meditation—communion with Christ—stand at the vibrant center of all Christian existence.
After a series of essays on Ratzinger, He Gave Us So Much also presents a selection of texts and homilies written by the late pope himself, arranged by Cardinal Sarah as a “spiritual itinerary” for prayer. These works invite us to follow Jesus in our own lives—body, soul, and spirit—to the ends of the earth and beyond.
“You may discover an unexpected, unknown Benedict XVI,” proposes Cardinal Sarah. “His teaching and his example are a continent, still unexplored, where the Church will be able to find nourishment for a long time.” This is no ordinary biography, but—in Sarah’s words—the “portrait of a saint”.
“Unique among the many biographies and tributes to this unsuspecting successor of Saint Peter, Cardinal Sarah’s book reveals to us the heart and soul of this simple child of God. A very important contribution to the life and legacy of Benedict XVI.”
—Most Reverend James D. Conley, Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska
“The Church and the world continue to grow in deep appreciation for the person and teaching of Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Sarah, with his gentle, measured, erudite style, helps us savor the late pontiff even more.”
—Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York
“Cardinal Sarah opens up for us Benedict XVI’s intimate relationship with Christ, God the Son Incarnate, from which flowed the many wonderful priestly gifts that he gave us in the Church. We owe a profound debt of gratitude to Cardinal Sarah for his rich testimonial.”
—Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Author, Hope for the World: To Unite All Things in Christ
“Cardinal Sarah argues that Benedict XVI is the Father of the Church of the third millennium, whom future generations will call Benedict the Great. This book is an absolute treasure, a source of hope in dark times.”
—Professor Tracey Rowland, St. John Paul II Chair of Theology, University of Notre Dame (Australia)
“Cardinal Sarah guides the reader to understand the life, faith, and teachings of this man who had a great intellect, but more importantly, a deeper intimacy in prayer with Jesus Christ in the heart of the Trinity. This work will not disappoint.”
—Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, Archbishop of Denver
“Cardinal Sarah shares personal observations of Pope Benedict XVI, revealing unexpected theological and mystical experiences. The reader discovers a man who is a lover of truth, which was not an ideology but a person whom he had met and loved—Jesus, God made man.”
—Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco
“I have rarely, if ever, read a work of thoughtful spirituality brimming over with this kind of vibrant insight and spiritual depth. It is fascinating, a gaze into the core of truth and religious thirst that animated the intense love of Joseph Ratzinger for the mystery of God and his Church.”
—Father Donald Haggerty, Author, Saint John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation