.- Pope Benedict XVI's vacation time is now being dedicated to writing the third volume in what could safely be called the "Jesus of Nazareth" series. The new work will seek to shed light on the story of Jesus' childhood from the Gospels.
Fr. Federico Lombardi "broke" the official news in his weekly "Octava dies" editorial program for Vatican television although news had already spread that the Holy Father was working on an addition to the first two books. Some Italian journalists had reported that it would be a book, others a mere appendix to the previous two volumes. Fr. Lombardi referred to it as a "volume."
Following a first book on Jesus' public ministry and a second on the Passion and Resurrection, the Vatican spokesman said that "Benedict XVI has now laid his hands on the third and final part, dedicated to the 'Gospels of childhood'."
It will concentrate on the accounts of Jesus' early life from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Fr. Lombardi also said that the second book of the "Jesus of Nazareth" series is now being translated and is expected to be released in Spring 2011.
On the significance of the Pope's work on the new volume, Fr. Lombardi pointed out, "It's clear ... how close it is to his heart to bring this great design started years ago to a close."
The Vatican spokesman recalled the "crucial importance" given to the first volume during the bishops' synod in Oct. 2008 on the "Word of God," when various speakers referred to it as "a model of theological and spiritual reading of the Gospels" and "a guide for believers to find - through the Gospels - the person of Jesus."
Fr. Lombardi hoped for a similar the result of the third volume, exclaiming, "Take us to meet Jesus!"
He concluded by noting that through the Pope’s dedication to the Church and the faithful, even during his "holidays," we can see that we are "at the heart" of his service.
According to Fr. Lombardi, during the first two weeks of his summer vacation, the Pope also revisited one of the volumes of his "Opera omnia," the collection of his life works which have begun to be published in German and Italian.