The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body

The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body
by Louis Marie Chauvet

This is a simplified version of the longer and quite challenging Symbol and Sacrament.

I have posted several items in the past few months about sacramentality, and specifically the relationship between faith and act, or belief and ritual if you prefer. Evangelicalism teaches that faith and salvation are primarily inward dispositions, they are about accepting the proposition that Jesus is "Lord and Savior" in "asking him into your heart." Not to say that any of this is necessarilly wrong, but let me say that in my view it simply does not account for the centrality of ritual in the OT, the NT, church history, or human history.

So you have kids? Tell me if they are not the most ritualistic creatures in the world! Don't you have a ritual for putting them to bed? And if you change it, well, won't they object? Or maybe they just won't go to sleep. Chauvet, who is Catholic, offers a profound and, to me, revelatory account of the sacramentality of all life. His theology of the sacraments has much to offer to Christians of all traditions though. When I read Symbol and Sacrament I felt that he actually has captured in a very real way the Reformation ideal of honoring correctly both the word announced (Bible and sermon) and the word inscribed on the body (sacrament).

One of the Amazon reviews puts it nicely, "Chauvet is interested in explaining how sacraments "mediate" God's presence, allowing humanity to come into communion with God. Yet he is insistent that one can never hold, control or own God. Therefore, for Chauvet, all knowledge, revelation and experience of God must be mediated by the multiple interactions of the symbolic order. "


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