Thursday, December 25, 2008

From Incarnation to Incorporation . . .

Writing of the mystery of faith, Hans Urs von Balthasar says this:
The background for understanding this mystery lies in the fact that the natural man best acknowledges the gift of himself by passing the gift on in an unstinting service of his fellowman and of the whole human work of cultivation. This service remains something whose scope we can comprehend in one way or another. In contrast, what the Christian’s selfless following of Christ – who died for all – effects in the world of grace cannot be surveyed. We can say only this much: to the extent that a Christian more and more selflessly and unselfishly serves and commits himself to the work of God-in-Christ in the world; allows God, the Church, and his fellowmen to make use of him; opens his heart to the needs of others; considers Christ’s concern, the salvation of all, to be weightier even than his own salvation and welfare; universalizes his prayer to God to include the whole of mankind, especially its most reprobate members; offers himself to God and makes his life, and, if need be, his death, available to God’s saving will – to that very extent God, the Church, and individual human beings can pluck fruit from his tree, and his existence will be all the more spacious and universally accessible. Such a Christian can in some sense grow up to the dimensions of the Church and identify himself with her intentions. He becomes, as the Fathers say, a “man of the Church,” an anima ecclesiastica. [Mary: The Church at the Source, 134-5]
One thing can be said of von Balthasar: he doesnt't lower the bar on the Christian vocation.

Merry Christmas.

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