As I read "Encountering Truth," I kept trying to decide how to describe Pope Francis' words. The closest I can come is to say that his homilies read like a conversation with a very devout neighbor, somebody who talks about God and life with both feet planted firmly on the ground.
He makes his theology immediate- the Gospel demands action. The Christ was flesh and blood, and so is his Church. Doctrine and practice move through life hand in hand. Truth is more than pretty ideas, and grace is not a hollow word.
Pope Francis is preaching a faith in which the presence of God is expected in the everyday. Prayer, confession, justice, tribulation, renewal, moralism, courage, wisdom, peace... he addresses all of these aspects of life, and grounds them in his understanding of being human in this world.
Here are some of his thoughts.
"Hope changes our attitude; we are ourselves, but we are not ourselves; we are ourselves, seeking the other side, anchored in the other side."
"The power of man is prayer, and the prayer of a humble man is God's weakness. The Lord is weak only in this: he is weak in the face of the prayers of his people."
"There (in the hands of God) we are safe. It is the greatest safety, because it is the safety of our Father who loves us."
My best endorsement would be to say that when the cares of life narrow our eyes and reduce our view of God, this book will help wake us up again, and open our eyes to see him more clearly.
And Pope Francis isn't telling us anything "new and exciting." He's not marketing something he's manufactured to get our attention. He's re-presenting the timeless message of God's invitation and God's redemption and God's victory, and in every age, that story compels us and converts us and changes our direction.
I thank Image publishers for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my opinion.