Rekindling the Christic Imagination: Theological Meditations for the New Evangelization

Overview

The Second Vatican Council marked the beginning of the New Evangelization. It sought to communicate the Gospel's perennial newness to the contemporary world in a spirit of joy and hope. Yet despite the exhortations of Paul VI and John Paul II, a number of ecclesial and cultural factors deflected the church's evangelical energies, so that the council's radiant Christocentric vision faded in an increasingly polarized church.

In this important new work, Robert Imbelli probes the ...

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Rekindling the Christic Imagination: Theological Meditations for the New Evangelization

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Overview

The Second Vatican Council marked the beginning of the New Evangelization. It sought to communicate the Gospel's perennial newness to the contemporary world in a spirit of joy and hope. Yet despite the exhortations of Paul VI and John Paul II, a number of ecclesial and cultural factors deflected the church's evangelical energies, so that the council's radiant Christocentric vision faded in an increasingly polarized church.

In this important new work, Robert Imbelli probes the council's comprehensive Christocentric vision and its evangelical imperative. It maintains that Jesus Christ cannot be separated from his body, the church, and that the Eucharist effects the ongoing intimate communion between Head and members. It is this life-giving communion that the church desires to share with the wider world as the world's truth and salvation. Drawing on the writings of Pope Benedict and the witness of Pope Francis, Imbelli's insights will help transform what is merely notional for the reader into a vivid reality through the lure of beauty. Includes four-color illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Drawing on sources artistic, literary, spiritual, and theological, Robert Imbelli provides a splendid and intellectually stimulating exploration of the New Evangelization. Anyone interested in preaching, teaching, or pastoral work should read this uplifting book.
Very Reverend Robert Barron, Rector / President, University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois

By careful scriptural exegesis Robert Imbelli properly places Christ at the center of our Christian faith and lives, governing the identity, mission, and worship of the church. All this is illustrated from Christian poetry and art over the centuries in such a way as to encourage and inspire in a freshly imagined way the new evangelization that the Second Vatican Council saw to be sorely needed in our time and world. Rekindling the Christic Imagination could serve in a classic way the theological education of candidates for the priesthood as well as refreshing those already in the ministry (including Protestants!).
Dr. Geoffrey Wainwright, Robert Earl Cushman Professor Emeritus of Christian Theology, Duke Divinity School

Here is clear and beautiful writing at a peaceful pace and tone. With quiet confidence Robert Imbelli places the concept of revelation, especially in its fresh articulation in Vatican II's Dei Verbum, at the center of the theological enterprise. And as the center of revelation he places with renewed clarity the figure of Jesus Christ. This is a model of how to advance theological thinking in the coming years. Faith, wonder, and adoration accompany sharp critical thought in exposing the uniqueness of the treasure given us by God in Jesus Christ.
Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, Pontifical Athenaeum Sant' Anselmo, Rome/Mount Angel Seminary

I had the good fortune of reading Fr. Imbelli's book right before Christmas. The small but rich book proved to be a most rewarding meditation on the surpassing mystery of the incarnation-theologically fecund, spiritually edifying, and aesthetically appealing. The content, style, and artistic appeal of the book gives tangible witness to the fact that truth, goodness, and beauty are united in the person of the crucified and risen Christ. Fr. Imbelli's very accessibly written "mystagogy" is a compelling invitation into the mystery of Christ and an important contribution to the New Evangelization.
Reinhard Hütter, Professor of Christian Theology, Duke University Divinity School

Imbelli doesn't just talk about mystagogy; he practices it. Drawing on poets and painters, Rekindling the Christic Imagination aims for the reader to be possessed' by Christ. Imbelli rightly refuses to choose between aggiornamento and ressourcement, recognizing that their unity is found in a renewed focus on Jesus Christ himself as the center of our theological endeavors. The result is a biblically grounded and theologically rich meditation on Christological, trinitarian, eucharistic, and ecclesial themes.
Hans Boersma, J. I. Packer Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Painters and poets help Imbelli distill decades of preaching and teaching into a fine evangelical wine. Charles Taylor's call to recover a sense of what the incarnation can mean inspires an accessible and moving account of church, eucharist, and Vatican II as Christic calls to holiness in the world. A meditative gem of a book!
William L. Portier, Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology, University of Dayton

Robert Imbelli's beautifully written book on the centrality of Christ for the Catholic faith does fair justice both to trinitarian theology and to the mystery of the church in the light of Christ. It should be read in the manner it was written: in a spirit of contemplative reflection. The author's intention of being a work of aggiornamento and ressourcement is fully realized.
Lawrence S. Cunningham, John A. O'Brien Professor of Theology (Emeritus), The University of Notre Dame

This is a beautiful, profound, and precise book. Theology, for Imbelli, is a matter of meditative, Christ-centered reasoning, and he shows what this means by responding to Christ as imaged by and present in four works of visual art. This way of working gives to Imbelli's prose and pattern of thought a limpidity through which the face of Jesus can be seen in chiaroscuro. It also makes possible a depth of theological thinking that undercuts and reconciles the tired divisions in the American church. I read Imbelli's book immediately after reading Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium, and what Imbelli does exemplifies what Francis recommends: a recovery of the joy of thinking about and approaching Jesus that transcends internal oppositions and permits ressourcement and aggiornamento to kiss. Imbelli's work is theological mystagogy of a very high order.
Paul J. Griffiths, Warren Chair of Catholic Theology, Duke Divinity School

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814635506
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 2/28/2014
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 294,986
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, has taught at the New York Archdiocesan Seminary and at the Maryknoll School of Theology, and from 1986 to 2013 he taught systematic theology at Boston College. He is currently associate professor emeritus. His work appears frequently in journals and magazines such as Theological Studies, The Thomist, Pro Ecclesia, Communio, Worship, Origins, Commonweal, America, and L'Osservatore Romano.
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