The writings of Pope Benedict XVI helped bring me home to the Catholic Church after wandering far, far away. The clarity with which he wrote (writes!) and his defense of the marriage between reason (exemplified by Greek philosophy) and faith (exemplified by Israel) in Christianity opened my eyes to worlds formerly undreamed of. His brilliant defense and example of offering dignified and solemn worship to God (rather than the sloppy and "we-the-people-centric" liturgies of my youth) in what he termed the "ordinary form" of the Mass and his liberalizing what he termed the "extraordinary form" (aka the traditional Latin Mass) extended his impact beyond my heart and into my very soul. Needless to say, I'm eternally indebted to this great man, who stands as my favorite pope (nothing against Francis or JP2 or Peter for that matter, I love them all, but Benedict has transformed my life as no other pope).
If you haven't read anything of his, here is a very abbreviated "top ten" recommended list to get you started:
The Spirit of the Liturgy
Jesus of Nazareth (all three volumes)
Introduction to Christianity
Behold the Pierced One
The Feast of Faith
Light of the World
The Ratzinger Report
Deus Caritas Est
Today, this great man (and future Doctor of the Church!!) turns 87. May God bless his servant with many more years (and much more writing).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAPA!