Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Thomas Ken & Hans Urs von Balthasar on the Assumption

Heaven with transcendent joys her entrance graced,
Next to his throne her Son his Mother placed;
And here below, now she's of heaven possest,
All generations are to call her blest.

From: You Crown the Year with Your Goodness: 
Sermons through the Liturgical Year, pp. 186, 190-191

What . . . is the Church celebrating today? 
That a simple human body, inseparably united to its soul, 
is capable of being the perfect response to God’s challenge 
and of uttering the unreserved ‘Yes’ to his request. 
It is a single body – 
for everything in Christianity is always personal, concrete, particular – 
but at the same time it is a body that recapitulates 
all the faith and hope of Israel and of all men on earth. 
Consequently, when it is taken up into ultimate salvation, 
it contains the firm promise of salvation 
for all flesh that yearns for redemption. 
For all our bodies long to participate in our ultimate salvation by God: 
we do not want to appear before God as naked souls, 
‘not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, 
so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life’ (2 Corinthians 5:4); 
and God, who caused bodies to die, ‘subjecting creation to futility’, 
has subjected it ‘in hope’ that it ‘will be set free from its bondage to decay 
and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Romans 8:20f). 
So we are celebrating a feast of hope; 
but, like all the New Testament feasts, 
it is celebrated on the basis of a fulfillment that has already taken place; 
that is, not only has the Son of God been resurrected bodily – 
which in view of his life and death, is quite natural – 
but also has the body that made him man, 
the earthly realm that proved ready to receive God 
and that remains inseparable from Christ’s body. 
Today we see that this earth was capable of carrying and bringing to birth 
the infinite fruit that had been implanted in her. 
Today we celebrate the ultimate affirmation and confirmation of the earth.


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