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Signatures of Grace: Catholic Writers on the Sacraments Paperback – February 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452282217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452282216
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,498,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Signatures of Grace is a collection of essays interweaving personal testimony with historical and theological reflections on the sacraments at the heart of Catholic worship. The contributors to this volume are among America's best contemporary Catholic writers, including Patricia Hampl, Mary Gordon, and Murray Bodo. Perhaps the best essay in this book, however, is "Eucharist," by novelist Ron Hansen (author of Mariette in Ecstasy). Hansen's description of the Eucharist's significance in Catholic theology is deft and broad-minded: "Our gifts of bread and wine are changed by Christ.... They are no longer things; they are God. And in this extravagant gift of the Eucharist we are, as Saint Augustine wrote, receiving ourselves, for our Baptism formed us into the body of Christ and his members." The book ends with an essay by the late Andre Dubus called "Sacraments," which describes how the author found God's presence in everyday physical experiences, such as cooking for his daughters, lighting a cigarette for his father, and feeling the breeze on his face. Signatures of Grace will help many readers become similarly attuned to God's presence in their everyday lives, in a manner that is firmly grounded in Catholic history and theology. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard J. Grebenc on June 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While a different Catholic wrote each one of the chapters, often with great style, this should not be a source for understanding what the Church teaches on the seven sacraments. Rather, these authors reflect on their own personal experiences regarding the sacrament that is their topic, sometimes bringing in Church teaching, but always concentrating on their own perspective. There are a few gold nuggets in these missives, but there are certainly plenty of times when the knowledgeable reader (regardless of where they fall on the orthodox-progressive scale) will get riled up. In any case, the thoughtful reader will want to be well grounded in the sacraments (try the Catechism of the Catholic Church) before setting out into these murky waters.
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