The meditations brought together in the current volume lead us to the heart of the New Testament message. Cardinal Martini reflects on the account of the Passion in various retreats he based on the canonical Gospels. The fact that they have once more been brought together in a single volume allows our reader to access the lively, humble and at the same time, authoritative prose of a preacher who approaches the subject of his preaching in fear and trembling, thus displaying his sincere empathy with all his listeners. It matters little that there is no clear connection between all the mediations (in fact the material has been drawn from different contexts): a believer among believers, Martini confesses the consternation which overcomes the mind preparing to reflect on the mystery of the Passion, clearly highlighting the seriousness, the dramatic nature of this kind of meditation which, when it occurs truthfully, that is, by seeing the consequences for our life, seems rather like a snare that snatches us and sweeps us up.
Cardinal Maria Martini (15 Feb 1927- 31 Aug 2012), Jesuit, and biblical scholar, was Archbishop of Milan from 1979 to 2002. Considered by Catholics and non-Catholics alike to be one of the most listened to and followed voices there, Cardinal Martini resigned from his various responsibilities in 2002 and decided to retire to Jerusalem to resume his beloved biblical studies, but even from this ancient capital of Major Faiths, he ensured that his voice was strongly heard. He returned to Italy for health reasons but even during his illness, he never ceased disturbing consciences with clarity and intelligence. At his death, more than 150,000 people filed past as he lay in state in the Milan Cathedral.