31 July 2013

On the Sharp Edge of Contemplation

Way back in 2005, I used Hans Urs von Balthasar's book, Prayer, in a graduate seminar on the theology of prayer.

I ran across this book this morning while looking for something else and opened it to notice that I'd marked it up with notes, etc.

One marked passage stood out, so I thought I'd share it with you:

If we fail to let the word's sharp edge have its effect on us, we shall always be meeting the merely imaginary Redeemer; if we fail to face the judgment of Christ every time we contemplate, we shall not perceive the distinctive quality of divine grace. The consuming fire of crucified Love is both redemption and judgment; the two are inseparable and indistinguishable (224-5).

I've never thought of divine love in terms of both redemption and judgment, but this makes perfect sense when you think about the nature of divine love: Love Himself.

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  1. Fr. Philip,

    Very nice quote. Reminds me of Benedict's treatment of Purgatory in Spe Salvi.

    1. BXVI is deeply influenced by HUvB's biblical hermeneutics. You can see this most clearly in his three vol. set on Jesus.

  2. Genuine conversion is painful; the sharp edge of the Gospel touches a "nerve," it challenges us to a greater depth of integrity. For this to be fruitful I must be willing to be fearless as I examine myself in the mirror of the Gospel. What in my life is anti-Gospel? What is anti-Easter? What ever it is that I find, I must also realize that the Lord has shown this to me not to punish or embarrass me,but to ask me to allow Him to heal that aspect of my life and bring it into harmony with the vision He has of me.
    Fr. Stephen Sanchez, O.C.B.