Grace to you!
He may have been a controversial figure, but the contributions of Hans Urs von Balthasar in the field of theology of beauty, what is called theological aesthetics, is unrivaled in contemporary theology. Hence, Saint Pope John Paul II praised his works in that direction.
In his massive seven-volume theological aesthetics titled, The Glory of the Lord, a Theological Aesthetics, Balthasar discussed the depth of divine splendor and called for believers to rediscover the profundity of divine beauty.
From Scriptures and Sacred Tradition, we learn that the splendor (beauty) of God isn't simply the letters of the law, but Christ himself, the fullness of divinity. To have seen Christ, witnessed Christ and be born in Christ through baptism is to have been immersed in divine glory and divine beauty.
This immersion must grow, deepen and produce fruit. The personal fruits are those spoken of by Saint Paul in Galatians 5:20-23; and the ecclesial fruits include winning souls for God through being witnesses ourselves.
The freedom that comes from the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor 3:17) breaks the limitations of the flesh, what we incurred no thanks to Original Sin. Thus, we are granted the grace to glow with unveiled faces. There is no more fear. The spirit of boldness and fruitfulness is born in us.
As Saint Paul said, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:18). This transformation is fruitfulness through grace from the personal to the ecclesial, welling unto life eternal.
If you are, therefore, called to be a minister of these channels through which the glory of God is revealed and fulfilled in people's lives, rejoice and be glad. Saint Paul speaks to ordained ministers of the Word and Sacraments, "Do not lose heart." (2 Cor 4:1).
The glory we’ve received, whether as ordained ministers or as royal priests, comes with the grace, which surpasses the ethical standards of the world. It is the kind inspiring us to love even the unlovable and to forgive the unforgivable (Mtt 5:21-24); breaking the boundaries of fruitlessness. “If the son of man (Christ) sets you free, you are free indeed” (Jn 8:36).
Are you facing some obstacles and challenges in your life as a witness to glory, realize that it's through those challenges that the growth from glory to glory takes place. Constantly fix your gaze on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrew 12:2). With tender heart, ask for the grace of peace for hearts that cause you pain. Nothing is worth a believer being barren. Nothing compares fulfilling your vocation in life.
Wishing you grace and fervor. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
[Thursday Week 10: 2 Cor 3:15-4:1, 3-6; Mt 5:20-26]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.