Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Catholicity of the Church

There's a wonderful little book: Mary: the Church at the Source which contains essays by Joseph Ratzinger and Hans Urs von Balthasar. I particularly like the concluding essay by Balthasar, which contains this paragraph:

Jesus Christ is called the Alpha and Omega: he has not only bound us back to our lost beginning, the Father, but has also set us in motion toward his absolute future. He alone is the force that binds together the beginning and the end, the force that can reconcile in itself, as the higher third, the two divergent world views: past and future, Buddhism and Marxism. For only in him is God presence, and so he alone can be the way back to the origin and ahead toward the consummation. Buddha, in pure faith prefers the lost, bygone origin to everything present, to all apparent being. Marx, in pure hope, prefers the absolute goal to everything present, to all that actually exists. Christ alone establishes absolute love. This love, looking out from the present being of the world, which is affirmed by God, embraces at one and the same time both the beginning and the end.

This concluding essay (The Catholicity of the Church), while only twenty pages, addresses all the core issues in Balthasar's typical wide-ranging manner. If someone were to say to me, "Not that I've any interest in entering the Catholic church, but I'm really interested in what prompted you. Can you recommend a short article that gets are what's most important from your viewpoint?" then this article by Balthasar is what I'd recommend.

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