Preaching to the Hungers of the Heart is about words, most particularly, it is a book about the Word, the living Word of God, found in the Scriptures, and embodied once and for all in the person of Jesus, the Word made flesh.
In Preaching to the Hungers of the Heart Fr. James Wallace offers a nuanced consideration of the homily as nourishment. He focuses on three common liturgical contexts: feasts of the Lord, feasts of Mary and the saints, and the sacramental rites. He relates the preaching that occurs within each area to one of the heart's basic hungers: for wholeness (the great feasts of the Lord), for guidance (feasts of Mary and the saints), and for meaning (various rites). He also addresses the spirituality of the preacher as it is worked out in the process of preparation.
For preachers and students in schools of ministry who are preparing to preachPreaching to the Hungers of the Heart will serve as a useful tool to help satisfy the hunger to preach the Gospel. It includes homilies that provide excellent starting points for preachers looking for ideas.
Chapter one considers the image of feeding God's people with the Word of God. Chapter two, considering the innermost hunger of the human person, looks to the preaching that takes place on the great feasts of the Lord and how such preaching can nourish the hunger for wholeness. Chapter three returns to the hunger for meaning already mentioned and extends to the other sacramental celebrations the homily's capacity to meet this hunger, including those addressed by the various sacramental celebrations of the Church such as baptisms, weddings, funerals, rites of reconciliation, and anointing of the sick. Chapters four and five present the homily as responding to the hunger to belong. The final chapter considers one other hunger of the heart, unique to the preacher, referred to by John Paul II as a hunger to preach the gospel (Pastores Dabo Vobis, no. 28).
Chapters are "Preaching's Task in a New Millennium: Feeding God's People," "Preaching the Feasts of the Lord and the Hunger for Wholeness," "Preaching Within the Sacramental Rites and the Hunger for Meaning, "Preaching Through the Saints and the Hunger for Belonging: I - The Saints," "Preaching Through the Saints and the Hunger for Belonging: II - Mary," and "Cultivating the Preacher's Hunger: 'To Make the Gospel Known and Loved.'"
James A. Wallace, CSsR, PhD, is professor of homiletics at Washington Theological Union. His previous works include Preaching Through the Saints and The Ministry of Lectors published by The Liturgical Press. He has also authored numerous articles and has given preaching conferences and workshops in the U.S. and abroad.
The book is an invaluable and long overdue resource for Catholic preachers and teachers of preachers. I will certainly be requiring it of my students. Instead of a bag of superficial tricks and gimmicks, the book provides preachers with a deep understanding of the several liturgical preaching occasions the book addresses. The work is thorough, thoughtful and theological yet clear, practical, and pastoral. The author's love of preaching and his deep respect for the various special occasion liturgies are evident on every page. I found the last chapter's concern for the ongoing need for preachers to remain alive to their preaching right on target. The four 'loves' the author lists as necessary to sustain preachers stand as warning and remedy for weary preachers.Richard C. Stern, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Homiletics, Saint Meinrad School of Theology