18. Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book 4 by John Calvin
Book Four of the Institutes discusses "the Church and the Communion of Saints, or of the external means or helps by which God invites us to fellowship with Christ, and keeps us in it." This includes Church government, with scathing denunciations of the Papacy and Catholic Church. (Summary from Wikipedia & TriciaG)
How ironic that I would go for my day of prayer at the Mt. Angel Abbey and Seminary in Mt. Angel, Oregon while in the middle of Calvin's "scathing denunciations of the Papacy and Catholic Church."
Within minutes of arriving, the bells rang for what I thought was one of many Benedictine prayer times, but as I walked toward the library, a throng of seminarians came running (some with cheers) out of the library in the opposite direction of the church! I thought that was weird until I entered the deserted library. There was one employee watching television on her computer, but I quickly skirted by her, not wanting to embarrass her for not working. But as I settled into my day of prayer, I overheard what she was watching: the white smoke had risen! The bells and running seminarians were because the new Pope had been selected on the third vote of the conclave of the cardinals, and they were running to watch it on the big screen television in one of the classrooms.
My day of prayer was changed, I journaled my prayers for him as I heard his first address to the world. I prayed for unity in the body of Christ. I do not understand the "ins and outs" of the Catholic Church, but I love my Catholic brothers and sisters. Calvin came out of the Catholic Church, and I find people that have are the hardest critics. So, I cannot judge. I will continue to pray for unity of the body of Christ and Francis.
The great news is that I am done with all 1775 pages of the Institutes! Woohoo!
(I did a combination of Kindle and listening on Librivox. The person with the annoying voice was only on a few tracks for this book and many of the tracks were narrated by a distinguished sounding Brit!)