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 Love Must Be Perceived, Love as Revelation, Love as Justification and Faith, and Love as Deed
An excerpt from the section entitled “Love Must Be Perceived” found in the book:
If God wishes to reveal the love that he harbors for the world, this love has to be something that the world can recognize, in spite of, or in fact in, its being wholly other. The inner reality of love can be recognized only by love. In order for a selfish beloved to understand the selfless love of a lover (not only as something he can use, which happens to serve better than other things, but rather as what it truly is), he must already have some glimmer of love, some initial sense of what it is. Similarly, a person who contemplates a great work of art has to have a gift—whether inborn or acquired through training—to be able to perceive and assess its beauty, to distinguish it from mediocre art or kitsch. This preparation of the subject, which raises him up to the revealed object and tunes him to it, is for the individual person the disposition we could call the threefold unity of faith, hope, and love, a disposition that must already be present at least in an inchoative way in the very first genuine encounter. And it can be thus present because the love of God, which is of course grace, necessarily includes in itself its own conditions of recognizability and therefore brings this possibility with it and communicates it.
After a mother has smiled at her child for many days and weeks, she finally receives her child’s smile in response. She has awakened love in the heart of her child, and as the child awakens to love, it also awakens to knowledge: the initially empty-sense impressions gather meaningfully around the core of the Thou. Knowledge (with its whole complex of intuition and concept) comes into play, because the play of love has already begun beforehand, initiated by the mother, the transcendent. God interprets himself to man as love in the same way: he radiates love, which kindles the light of love in the heart of man, and it is precisely this light that allows man to perceive this, the absolute Love: “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). In this face, the primal foundation of being smiles at us as a mother and as a father. Insofar as we are his creatures, the seed of love lies dormant within us as the image of God (imago). But just as no child can be awakened to love without being loved, so too no human heart can come to an understanding of God without the free gift of his grace—in the image of his Son.
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.