Robert Imbelli


Word on Fire



St. Irenaeus teaches that “Christ brought all newness in bringing himself.” This representative collection of the writings of Father Robert Imbelli proclaims, celebrates, and sounds the depths of the newness of Jesus Christ and the radical transformation to which Christ calls believers. Rooted in Scripture and the Fathers of the Church, these essays, reviews, and reflections explore the Christian faith’s rich liturgical, artistic, literary, and theological traditions across the centuries.

At a time when Catholic theology too often risks being reduced to sociology and Christian faith and discipleship diluted to mere moralism, the author proposes a vibrant and profound mystagogic theology. In such theology, the mystery of Christ is not only notional but real, not only described but evoked. Imbelli offers a theology and vision of the Christian faith at once intellectually stimulating and deeply affective.

“Theology today can seem surprisingly rudderless, as if the acquisitions of the last century’s return ad fontes had been casually mislaid. It is a tonic to find a theologian whose mind is both disciplined and open, who interprets the signs of the times as such—as significant, not as oracles—in the light of a life-giving tradition. Not easily labelled as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal,’ he manages to span wide expanses, a balancing act he performs with surefooted elegance still, well past his threescore and ten. This volume by Robert Imbelli, a learned man of the Church, is a treasure.”

Bishop Erik Varden, OCSO

“In the realm of literature, it has long been recognized that there are some great masters who excel especially in the short story format. In the field of modern theology, there is no one, in my judgment, who surpasses Robert Imbelli’s mastery of the form of the short theological essay. The essays in this volume are profound, inspired, and perspicacious meditations on the deepest and most central theological themes—above all the perennial newness of Christ. They are filled with the light of Christ and the fervor of the Spirit and will communicate this light and warmth to the attentive reader.”

Khaled Anatolios, John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame