Love Alone is Credible with Dr. Larry Chapp, Ph.D. – pt. 4
With Dr. Larry Chapp Ph.D., we discuss the sections in Love Alone is Credible that cover The Cosmological Reduction, The Anthropological Reduction, and The Third Way of Love.
An excerpt from the section entitled “The Third Way of Love” found in the book:
When man encounters the love of God in Christ, not only does he experience what genuine love is, but he is also confronted with the undeniable fact that he, a selfish sinner, does not himself possess true love. He experiences two things at once: the finitude of the creature’s love and its sinful frigidity. To be sure, he does possess something of an “anticipation” [Vorverständnis] of what love is; if he did not, he would not be able to make any sense of the sign of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the sign itself would also be opaque and contradictory in an objective sense, because, here, the love of God has appeared in the form of flesh, that is, in the form of human love. All the same, man cannot come to a recognition of this sign on the basis of his “anticipation” without a radical conversion—a conversion not only of the heart, which must in the face of this love confess that it has failed to love until now, but also a conversion of thought, which must relearn what love after all really is.
First, let us consider the implications of finitude. It is impossible to deny the reality of love that one finds in nature, from its roots in the subhuman realm all the way up to the human. The evidence cannot be gainsaid by any skeptical theory of the will to power or self-fulfillment. We see eros at play beyond the sphere of utility; we see the animal’s service and devotion to its young, and the individual’s self-renouncing sacrifice for the whole. At the human level, what was an ephemeral relationship enters into the sphere of spiritual and supratemporal significance: the passing moment of eros can be the gateway to a lifelong fidelity that outlasts this particular moment, which allows the relationship to one’s young to deepen into a familial love that embraces both nature and spirit; the loss of the individual that passes away in relation to the greater power of the species that endures can give rise to the notion of the individual’s self-offering for the sake of the community, the clan, the people or the nation; and in death one can gather up one’s entire existence in a gesture of self-renunciation and receive an intimation of the meaning of being itself as love.
But though all of this may point the way, it does not accomplish the journey, for there are other equally strong, or stronger, powers that set a limit to love’s movement: the fight for one’s place under the sun; the terrible stifling of the individual by the surrounding relations, the clan, and even by the family; the struggle of natural selection, for which nature itself provides the strength and the arms; the laws of time’s decay: friendships, once thought to be forever, grow cold, people grow apart, views and perspectives and thus hearts too become estranged.
Balthasar, Hans Urs von. Love Alone is Credible. Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
Balthasar: Beauty, Goodness, Truth is a series of conversations with noted theological scholars about the life and teachings of the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, who is considered one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and writers of the twentieth century.
In Hans Urs von Balthasar’s masterwork, The Glory of the Lord, the great theologian used the term “theological aesthetic” to describe what he believed to the most accurate method of interpreting the concept of divine love, as opposed to approaches founded on historical or scientific grounds. In this newly translated book, von Balthasar delves deeper into this exploration of what love means, what makes the divine love of God, and how we must become lovers of God in the footsteps of saints like Francis de Sales, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux.
Based in the theological aesthetic form, Love Alone is Credible brings a fresh perspective on an oft-explored subject. A deeply insightful and profound theological meditation that serves to both deepen and inform the faith of the believer.
For more podcast episodes with Dr. Larry Chapp discussing Love Alone is Credible – The Love Alone is Credible Podcasts.