28 May 2012

Great Quotes from V. Balthasar

Just finished H.U.V. Balthsar's Cosmic Liturgy, focused on Maximus the Confessor.  Here are several great quotes that I have gleaned from the book.  Happy reading!


Maximus expressly says that the Incarnation – more precisely, the drama of the Cross, grave, and Resurrection – is not only the midpoint of world history but the foundation idea of the world itself. The Redeemer is the borderline between all sensible and intellectual motion . [134]

This conception of Maximus, which stresses the finitude of time and thus also the possibility of being removed from it, corresponds to the spirit of late antiquity, from which the hesychastic prayer of the monks was to developed and which sought above all else, like Augustine, peace for the “restless heart” in eternal life.  The heroic sense of sharing in a divine adventure, which dominates Gregory of Nyssa’s conception of eternity, has given way to a liturgical attitude of silent, recollected adoration. [142]

In the second birth of baptism, suffering and death lose their sting, because baptism, as an effective sign of Christ’s death, takes away the guilt of the first birth and restores the original, spiritual birth from and in God that Adam had spurned. [203]

Here his vision parallels that of the greatest Christian minds – Augustine in his battle against Donatus, Thomas in his dispute with Averroes – in understanding how to transform an apparently immediate situation in the history of ideas into a question of universal relevance, how to make a particular attack on Christianity into an occasion for developing a view of the faith’s entire structure. [208]

It is even possible, as we have already indicated, that theological polemic’s immediate need for precise terms, even for slogans, occasionally causes it to run ahead of philosophical
reflection and so to threaten philosophy’s slow maturing to fruitfulness. 

Even while he is fighting for his formula of Christ’s two wills in a tough but seemingly petty series of skirmishes, he always is conscious of being in the Church’s inmost heart: the Catholic Church stands and falls with the undiminished humanity of Christ, and with the Church stands and falls every kind of mystical and intellectual interiority.  [318]

True wisdom is acquired only in service, because it is itself a service given to the salvation of the world and, so, a divine service. [328]

This balance between poles is the distinctively Maximian form of the doctrine of human perfection.  His image for action and knowledge is provided by the two apostles, Peter and John, hurrying to the grave of the Lord: they rush there together, the one constantly overtaking the other; both are mutually indispensable, and “neither one has an advantage or disadvantage with respect to the other.” [332]

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