08 December 2007

advent: hans urs von balthasar

From an Advent message by Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) in "You Crown the Year with Your Goodness": Sermons throughout the Liturgical Year (Ignatius 1987):
At this point we must remember that it is not the Judgment, with its measuring rod, that is ultimate; what is ultimate is the opening of the door to eternal life: "Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" - and even earlier, as Paul tells us: "God chose us in his before the foundation of the world." All that constitutes the world, all that has shape and form and outline, is really only a parable. Not in the sense that it must vanish in smoke and mist to make room for the Infinite, for all room and all places belong to God and he grant his creatures an eternal place with him. But the finite is not petrified: it is a fluid motion, coming from God and returning to him. "I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father." Our following of Christ is also drawn into his Ascension, his return to God's heart. The Image, Christ, opens and points beyond himself to his Origin; he is utterly and totally the exposition of the Primal Ground; he is our invitation and initiation into the mystery of God's heart.

In the Son's parousia there takes place the parousia of the Father, which is communicated to us by the Holy Spirit; we are endowed with this Spirit in advance, so that we may live in the bridal, thirsting longing for God's coming, as the Bible's final words tell us: "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' And let the one who is thirsty come and take the water of life without price" (Rev 22:17).