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Efficacious Engagement

Sacramental Participation in the Trinitarian Mystery
Kimberly Hope BelcherForeword by Nathan D. Mitchell

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ISBN: 9780814657638, 5763
Details: 176 pgs , 6 x 9
Publication Date: 12/01/2011

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The long-standing tradition of baptizing infants suggests that the sacraments plunge our bodies into salvation, so the revelation of God's love in the sacraments addresses the whole person, not the mind alone. In this work, the contemporary Roman Catholic rite of baptism for infants becomes a case study, manifesting the connections between the human body, the ecclesial body, and the Body of Christ. The sacramental life, for children as for adults, is an ongoing journey deeper into the life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

By examining the church's practice of infant baptism, Kimberly Hope Belcher asks how human beings participate in God's life through the sacraments. Christian sacraments are embodied, cultural rituals performed by and for human beings. At the same time, the sacraments are God's gifts of grace, by which human beings enter into God's own life. In this study, contemporary ritual studies, sacramental theology, and trinitarian theology are used to explore how participation in the sacraments can be an efficacious engagement in God's life of love.

Kimberly Hope Belcher is an assistant professor of theology at Saint John's University, where she teaches sacramental theology and ritual studies. She is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy and writes for the liturgical blog PrayTell.

With new insight and informed theological rigor, Belcher advances the now decades-long effort to appreciate and promote the human symbolic activity of sacraments as experiences of sharing in the very life of God. True to the wisdom and knowledge she has gleaned from the field of ritual studies, she delves into the particulars of one rite, infant baptism, to demonstrate how its personal, bodily, cultural, communal, and spiritual dynamics make the sacrament such a prevalent and formative practice for the real-life church in its members.
Bruce T. Morrill, S.J.

A powerful debut of a singularly promising theological voice. Cutting against the separation of ritual studies and sacramental theology, Kimberly Belcher shows how they can be brought together in a compelling synthesis. Even more impressive than the scholarship is the argumentative power of the text. Efficacious Engagement opens up a new line of inquiry beyond Chauvet and illustrates that the field of sacramental theology is vital and generative.
Cyril J. O'Regan, Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

This book offers a fresh entrance into the reality of sacramental engagement. The Liturgical Press is to be thanked for publishing this book and other such works by young scholars which encourages their professional development and invites a wide audience to glean insight about current research by the new voices in liturgical studies today.
Kevin W. Irwin, Worship

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