Signatures of Grace: Catholic Writers on the Sacraments

Thomas Grady, Editor, Paula Huston, Editor, Patricia Hampl, Essay by Dutton Books $23.95 (237p) ISBN 978-0-525-94533-8
How the mass and the other sacraments are celebrated--whether in Latin or the vernacular, with Gregorian chant or folk guitars--has become the battleground upon which larger issues about the Catholic Church are contested. Fortunately, this collection of fresh essays by some of the finest contemporary Catholic writers is blessedly free of that tumult. By examining how the sacraments have gradually cut through and re-shaped their lives, the contributors address how grace works through the earthen vessels of water, oil, bread and wine. Ron Hansen's essay on the Eucharist weaves a close reading of the Gospels together with his experiences as a daily communicant (including an evocation of ""roll-your-own liturgies"" in the immediate post-Vatican II years). Paula Huston's rendition of her own marital failure is riveting, and her conclusion--that she wound up grateful for a Church she could not ""manipulate, threaten, cajole or deceive""--is a sobering victory over relativism. Mary Gordon's loving endorsement of the new rite for the Anointing of the Sick will hearten those who labored after Vatican II to implement liturgical reform. Finally, the late Andre Dubus's essay--the only previously published contribution--reminds the reader that even a ham sandwich can be a sacrament, if it embodies the love of God. For Catholics, this volume is a treasure. For those outside the Church, the essays reveal as no catechism ever could why Catholics are drawn to these ""signs signifying grace."" (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
Paperback - 237 pages - 978-0-452-28221-6
Paperback - 237 pages - 978-1-60899-900-2
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