Bread from Heaven offers a contemporary theological synthesis on the Eucharist that brings together classical and critical biblical exegesis, debates on the early history of the Christian liturgy, patristic doctrine, the teachings offered by the Councils of Florence, Trent and Vatican II, and the Church’s lex orandi, all within a framework provided by the Eucharistic theology of Thomas Aquinas.
The volume begins with Christ’s Bread of Life discourse in John 6, in light of the Old Testament theme of the manna, and the Synoptic accounts of the Last Supper. These biblical texts offer solid foundation for a theology of Eucharistic sacrifice, presence and Communion. It then continues with a historical and systematic study of the institution of the Eucharist by Christ, with special attention given to the emergence of the first Eucharistic prayers. Then follows a survey of key Christological and ecclesiological themes which undergird Eucharistic theology. The chapters on Eucharistic sacrifice and presence form the heart of the work. Here, the focus moves to key conciliar, patristic and Thomistic insights on these themes. Bread from Heaven clarifies misunderstandings of Eucharistic sacrifice and renders transubstantiation accessible to beginners.
Blankenhorn concludes with a study of the consecration, the minister of the Eucharist and the fruits of communion. The chapter on the debate over the words of institution and the epiclesis gives a fresh perspective that integrates both eastern and western tradition. The study of the Eucharistic celebrant strikes a balance between a spirituality of the priest as acting in persona Christi and of the priest as praying in persona ecclesiae. The concluding chapter centers on the Eucharist’s unitive, mystical fruits in the Church.
This textbook is ideal for an advanced undergraduate or graduate course on Eucharistic theology. It also seeks to advance the debate on several controversial historical and speculative issues in sacramental theology.
" Bread from Heaven will serve as a standard resource on the Eucharist for many, many years—perhaps even the standard resource on the Eucharist, at least for those interested in high-level theology."~Paul Gondreau, Providence College
"Masterfully weaves together Scripture, Patristic texts, liturgical sources, magisterial teaching, and theological insights rooted in Thomas Aquinas to craft a work on the Eucharist that can serve as a textbook on the ‘source and summit of the Church’s life.’ Bread from Heaven highlights the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist, the Christological foundations of the Eucharistic sacrifice in the paschal mystery, the mystery of the Real Presence, and the effects of Holy Communion. Contemporary problems and concerns are addressed in the light of the solid foundations that he ably provides."~Lawrence Feingold, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
"Represents a valuable introduction to the theology of the Most Blessed Sacrament. This book is faithful to the Church’s doctrine; it is intelligently presented in its faithfulness. It is biblical, patristic. and Thomistic in its approach without overlooking contemporary themes and authors. Fr. Blankenhorn cites a vast array of specialized literature without falling into unnecessarily multiplying the number or enlarging the size of the footnotes. The treatment is bibliographically well grounded without being pedantic. It is also a very useful handbook for undergraduate-level courses on the Eucharist even if some of the speculative sections may be a little obscure to some students.... This is one of those books one can totally agree with, even if one might have a different opinion on a few, nonessential details. I strongly recommend Fr. Blankenhorn’s book to students of theology and to everyone who desires to understand better the Eucharistic Mystery."~Fr. Mauro Gagliardi, author of Truth Is a Synthesis: Catholic Dogmatic Theology
"Teachers and students of Catholic theology have needed this book for a long time. Until now, English-speaking Catholics have lacked an introduction to Eucharistic theology that integrated the developments of Vatican II and modern biblical and liturgical studies with the spiritual riches and doctrinal imperatives of traditional Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. Consistently guided by the theology of Thomas Aquinas, Fr. Blankenhorn focuses on the two matters at the heart of the Church’s faith in the Eucharist--the sacrifice of the Mass and Christ’s substantial presence--in a way that brings out their biblical basis, historical development, practical consequences, and ecumenical fruitfulness."~Bruce D. Marshall, Southern Methodist University