This book, uniquely, reproduces the four most important sets of sermons dating from the fourth century concerning the three sacraments of initiation: baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist.
This is of particular relevance today, now that the rites of these sacraments have been revised in many Christian churches in the light of fourth-century practice- the most significant modern example being the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.).
Christian initiation is a complex process, and can be viewed in several ways. It is a process of developing conversion or, more positively, of spiritual growth. In these sermons another aspect of initiation is illuminated: it is an experience, above all an experience of awe, formed to speak to the depths of the candidate's being and to produce a lasting transformation.
With this radical revision of an earlier work to take account of the liturgical changes of the last twenty-five years, Fr. Yarnold has provided a valuable reference for catechetical teams preparing candidates for initiation, and for students of liturgy. He also evokes an age when people were so sensitive to symbols that liturgy could be left to speak for itself, even before the preacher had given any explanation.
Edward Yarnold, S.J. is Research Lecturer at Oxford University.