Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, writes eloquently and persuasively about how one can live as a serious Christian in today's secular world. He talks in depth about the true meaning of faith, hope, and love–the love of God and the love of neighbor.He also discusses at length the crucial importance of a lived faith, for the believer himself as well as being a witness for our age, and striving to bring faith in line with the present age that has veered off into rampant secularism and materialism. He passionately encourages the reader to practice a deep, abiding Christian faith that seeks to be at the service of humanity.
As Joseph Ratzinger mentions in the preface, "the book presents in written form three sermons that the author preached in the Cathedral at Muenster to a congregation from the Catholic Student Chaplaincy, December 13-15, 1964."
In other words, these are essays derived from sermons preached to college students toward the end of Vatican II. They are remarkable, among other reasons, for their insights into the ongoing Christian struggle to understand and realize in action "what it means to be a Christian".
First Sermon: "Are We Saved? Or, Job Talks with God"
Christianity as Advent
The Unfulfilled Promise
Are We Saved?
The Hidden God
Second Sermon: "Faith as Service"
The Salvation of Christians and the Salvation of the World
God Becomes Man, Man Becomes Christlike
The Meaning of Salvation History
Third Sermon: "Above All: Love"
Love is Enough
Why Do We Need Faith?
The Law of Superabundance
Faith, Hope, and Love
"In our generation the Christian Faith finds itself in a much deeper crisis than at any other time in the past. In this situation it is no solution to shut our eyes in fear in the face of pressing problems, or to simply pass over them. If faith is to survive this age, then it must be lived, and above all, lived in this age. And this is possible only if a manifestation of faith is shown to have value for our present day, by growing to knowledge and fulfillment."
— Pope Benedict XVI, From the Introduction