Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trinitarian Love Incarnate and Crucified

I'm taking part in a conference at Notre Dame for the next two days, and on the flight today I read this in an article by Cardinal Marc Ouellet on the Trinitarian and Christological ethics of Hans Urs von Balthasar. (The quotations are from von Balthasar.)
... a theo-dramatic ethics bears a social dimension of combat for the sake of the deprived and the marginal. "The fight for social justice for the poor and the oppressed is a strict Christian duty, a 'work of mercy' both corporal and spiritual according to which the Christian and every other man will be judged." In order to carry it on according to his Faith, the Christian does not prescribe ready-made recipes; "he must, along with others, struggle to decipher the enigmas of nature and of history." He has at his disposal a certain image of man which orients his own choices, but these have to take account of the resistance of the structures of his world and of their proper laws: "He must not forget their contingency, and, for example, demand total disarmament and non-resistance or pacifism, in virtue of Christian charity and Christian communion, while overlooking all political prudence."
To which Cardinal Ouellet remarks: Christians "are not spared the painful experience of ethical choices, with their perplexities and anxieties." Nevertheless, the Cardinal adds, in the midst of these perplexities and anxieties, the Christian has the supreme and ultimate standard by which to measure his or her ethical behavior, namely, "trinitarian love incarnate and crucified."

1 comment:

Dan Florio said...

Speaking of von Balthasar, I ran across a sentence in which he manages to sum up all of human history so far in just a few choice words:

"The fragmentary logoi absolutized themselves and thus put up a sinful resistance to the true Logos."

I had been thinking a lot about our "fragmentary" nature when I ran across that. Even redeemed we are not complete entities in ourselves; we require, like scattered puzzle pieces, to be re-fitted into the one true picture.