Monday, June 8, 2009

In anticipation of the Encyclical...

Fr. Antonio Lopez, FSCB

by Antonio López

“God is an event of love.”

Introduction In order to ponder anew the mystery of love, without which man’s“life remains senseless” and “incomprehensible,” I would like to appeal in this essay to Balthasar’s understanding of God as an “eternal happening.” This insight attempts to bring together what the Triune God reveals of himself in Jesus Christ: he reveals himself as love (1 Jn 4:16), and as a love that is both an eternal being (esse) and an eternal event (Ereignis, Geschehen). In Christ, man has come to learn that love is not a transient emotion, but rather the mystery that encompasses all of being: from the moment when there was nothing but God (Gn 1:1) to the present instant in which man lives out his existence (2 Cor 5:14–15). The essence of being is love. Everything and everyone finds its proper place within this eternal mystery. At the same time, the Incarnate Word has disclosed that the mystery of love that constitutes us (Jn 1:3; Col 1:15–20) is pure gift of himself. Divine love is an ever-new gift of himself to himself (Hingabe) and an undeserved gift of himself to us (Eph 2:4; Rom 8:32). God is an event of love. [...]

Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."