In The Sacrament of the Eucharist, the latest volume in the Lex Orandi Series, John D. Laurance considers the Eucharist by way of two questions:
- How, by his first-century life, death, and resurrection, does Jesus Christ save all human beings throughout history from eternal death and make possible their permanent union with God?
- How is that salvation made available now through the community of the church in her liturgical celebrations?
Soteriology and ecclesiology therefore play a prominent role in Laurance's investigation.
After forging a theology of the liturgy primarily out of the work of Rahner, Kilmartin, and Chauvet, the author investigates the nature of the lex ordandi, lex credendi relationship and offers guidelines on how best to read the church's faith in her life of prayer. He then uses both steps to discover the faith meaning of a particular Eucharist as typically celebrated in a modern American parish on Sunday morning.
John D. Laurance, SJ, is associate professor of theology at Marquette University. He is the author of 'Priest' as Type of Christ: The Leader of the Eucharist. His work has appeared in many theological journals, including Theological Studies, Studia Liturgica, La Maison-Dieu, and Louvain Studies. Laurance is the editor of Liturgical Press's Lex Orandi Series.
The merits of this work are many and significant: the research is first-rate; the text is accessible and informative; and the gift and challenge of the Eucharist for the Christian community emerge unambiguously. The theology developed in the first half of the book-from Christology to ecclesiology, and on to liturgical theology-is a fine synthesis; it also lays an excellent foundation for the study of the Eucharistic celebration in the book's second half. This is a text that RCIA groups in parishes, no less than diocesan presbyterates, could explore to their great enrichment.
Richard Lennan, Professor of Systematic Theology, Boston College - School of Theology and Ministry
Fr. Laurance writes from the summit of his scholarship, gathering a lifetime's reflection and research in this masterful exploration of the Eucharist. It provides an up-to-date review of sources for the scholar, but is straightforward enough to be accessible to anyone wishing to deepen their experience of the Eucharist.
David Fagerberg, University of Notre Dame
This book . . . offers a refreshing approach to the theology of the Eucharist. He divides the book into two sections: theological themes that underlie his approach to the Eucharist, and a theological commentary on the celebration of the Eucharist. . . . The volume offers a good overview of current Eucharistic theology, through the lens of a commentary on the celebration. It will be helpful in college courses and may serve adult-education gatherings as well.
Michael G. Witczak, SLD, The Catholic University of America, Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society