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Love Alone is Credible with Dr. Larry Chapp, Ph.D. – pt. 5
With Dr. Larry Chapp Ph.D., we conclude our conversation by discussing the sections Love as Deed, Love as Form, and Love as the Light of the World.
From the section entitled Love as Deed:
But the genuine saints desired nothing but the greater glory of God’s love; this alone is the condition of possibility of what they do. A person would contradict them outright if, thinking he knows better, he were to interpret their deeds as means of self-glorification. The saints are lost in the depths of God; they are hidden in him. Their perfection grows not around the center of their ego, but solely around the center of God, whose inconceivable and incalculable grace it is to make his creature freer in himself and for himself to the extent that he becomes freer for God alone. We can resolve this paradox only if we understand, in the light of God’s self-gift, that he is love, which is just as jealous as it is without envy, so that it can gather exclusively to itself just as much as it casts itself out to all.
The sole credibility of the Church Christ founded lies, as he himself says, in the saints, as those who sought to set all things on the love of Christ alone. It is in them that we can see what the “authentic” Church is, that is, what she is in her authenticity, while she is essentially obscured by sinners (as people who do not seriously believe in God’s love) and turned into a useless enigma, which as such deservedly provokes contradiction and blasphemy (Rom 2:24). Christ’s apologetic, by contrast, can be summarized in the sentence: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35). This, however, means demonstrating the truth of dogma: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me” (Jn 17:23). Love as deed: a deed that is as genuinely human (with a heavy emphasis on corporal works of mercy) as it is therefore genuinely divine (because it is granted by God’s patience and humility), and thus a deed that becomes effectively present through everything that happens in the Church (in the preaching and the Mass and the sacraments and the organization and canon law)—this is the “proof of spirit and power”.
It is only at this point, concluding with a flourish, that one can speak about the ultimate mystery of love. This is the magnum mysterium of the “one flesh” (Eph 5:31), as being “one in spirit” (1 Cor 6:17), as “one bread, one body” (1 Cor 10:17). A mystery of unspeakable unity, “no longer living for oneself” (2 Cor 5:15), but henceforward living only for the One who loves, indeed, “no longer do I live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20), “God himself shines in our hearts” (2 Cor 4:6). A reciprocal indwelling that lies beyond all imagination, proceeding from the perception of the “unveiled vision of the glory [of love] of the Lord” to an “ever more glorious reflection through the transformation into the same image, which the Lord works through the power of the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).
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.
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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.