Eucharist DVD/Study Guide Set
Fr. Robert Barron’s Eucharist study guide/workbook accompanies his wonderful DVD entitled “Eucharist”. These two tools provide an in-depth study of the Eucharist, the “source and summit of the Christian life.” In his exuberant, energetic, warm and witty manner, Fr. Barron examines three aspects of the Sacrament: the Eucharist as Sacred Meal, as Sacrifice, and as Real Presence on the 77 minute DVD.
In Part I of the DVD, Fr. Barron does an excellent job of explaining how the Eucharist is a Sacred Meal, using verses and passages from both the New and Old Testament, the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, and the words of Dionysius the Areopagite. He begins by discussing his own experiences of the Eucharist as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, telling us that members of the congregation were “starving for it”. He builds on this concept of the Eucharist as nourishment, as he: glides us through the Book of Genesis and creation history, reviews Jewish practices and Eucharistic prophesies of the Old Testament, walks us through the Last Supper, and finishes up with an explanation of the importance of this Sacred Meal in our lives today.
In Part II, Fr. Barron quotes the Thomist theologian, Matthew Levering, reminding us “in a world gone wrong, there is no communion without sacrifice.” He builds on this theme of the Eucharist as Sacrifice by emphasizing how sacrifice is essential to salvation history as a divine rescue mission that returns humanity to the fellowship Adam and Eve had with God prior to the fall. He narrates and explains the meaning and necessity for sacrifice in both the Old and New Testaments, sharing passages from Genesis, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and John. He also cites Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien, briefly discussing “Lord of the Rings” as it relates to the meaning of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
In Part III, he addresses the problem that some have with the Eucharist today – the Real Presence. To me, this was the most interesting part of the DVD. Fr. Barron shares a wonderful anecdote about Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor, and quotes John 6 throughout. I particularly felt drawn to the argument raised by Baron Garius of Tour regarding the Real Presence of the Eucharist and Aquinas’s response via the Summa.
As I watched the DVD, I heard Father Barron describe many of the concepts with which most mature Catholics are familiar, but he presented the concepts and ideas at a slightly elevated level compared to what Catholic lay people typically hear in homilies, bible studies, and adult education groups. I believe that this is an asset of the material, as it both broadens and challenges the learner’s thinking. A few of the terms from the video, e.g. “eschatological” would not normally be a part of the typical lay person’s vocabulary, but with the help of an instructor/ moderator and the study guide/workbook, I believe this set would be a wonderful addition to any family or adult study group’s library. The independent learner would also profit a great deal from exposure to this enlightening and uplifting presentation. This is a great resource for anyone who wants to develop a deeper understanding and love for the Eucharist. I highly recommend it.
~ copyright Jean M. Heimann January 2012
This review was written by Jean M. Heimann for The Catholic Company.