We know that the ailing Cuban leader was upbeat, praising the Holy Father for his stamina. (Fidel Castro, who is just a year older than the Pope, was forced by health issues to retire from public life in 2008.)
Castro expressed his appreciation for the work of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed Pope John Paul II, noting that each had done much good for the Cuban nation.
But now here’s the thing that really caught my attention: Castro asked Pope Benedict to recommend some books, to help him better understand recent changes in the Church, specifically the reforms in the Latin liturgy.
You may remember that after the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro formally declared Cuba an “atheist state” and exiled priests or confined them in “reeducation camps.” Perhaps now, in retirement, he has had more time to meditate on the meaning of Life; perhaps the Holy Spirit can nudge even a communist leader toward the God Who created all things.
I’m sure the Vatican will have some great ideas regarding how to teach an aging dictator about the Catholic Faith. If they call me for advice, though, I’ll be ready. I’ll be sure to recommend Edward Sri’s wonderful new book, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass: Understanding What We Say and Do In The Liturgy (Ascension Press, 2011). In it, Doctor Sri explores the biblical roots of the words and gestures we experience in the Liturgy and explains their profound significance. The book, which is based on the new liturgy, is a positive walk through the cherished customs of our faith, guaranteed to deepen one’s devotion to the Eucharist.
It was my privilege to hear Dr. Sri speak last summer, and then to read the book myself. I’m not sure whether Fidel Castro will end up with this great book on his bedside table; but let me recommend it to you! You won’t be disappointed.
If, after reading Sri’s book, Mr. Castro still has time for some bedtime reading, here are just a few other titles that offer tantalizing concepts a good list for an atheist who starts to wonder whether life has meaning:
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
- J. Budziszewski, What WeCan’t Not Know: A Guide
- Robert Barron, Catholicism
- Robert Royal, The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West
What titles would you add to this list?