|Commentary on life, culture, and religion, with Hans Urs von Balthasar as a guide.|
October 26, 2010. Rome, Italy. Fr Patrick Murphy, LC, has
created a new blogspot with the goal of helping bring
together two realities that sometimes seem to repel each other
like oil and water: the timeless wisdom of the Church
and the modern secularized world. The blogspot, entitled “Loving
the Church with von Balthasar,” is also on Facebook under
the same name.
In the following brief interview, Fr Murphy
explains what the blog intends to achieve and how Balthasar’s
approach can build a bridge between the Church and modern
seekers. A link to the latest blog entry is also
Q: What is the central goal of your new
blog, Loving the Church with von Balthasar?
Murphy: My goal is to provide in-depth commentary on issues
of life, culture and religion. I am studying for my
Licentiate in Theology here in Rome (Pontifical Athenaeum, Regina Apostolorum).
In my studies I have been delving into the great
minds of our Christian heritage. So many answers to the
problems of our day are here, squirreled away in the
dusty books of the Fathers of the Church and other
great men and women saints and scholars from across the
centuries. So many answers to today’s problems are bottlenecked here
in Rome (and in other inconspicuous libraries of the globe).
I wanted to share some of the vintage wine of
truth that I have been tasting.
you had to single out von Balthasar’s most important contribution
to the dialogue between the Church and modern culture, what
would it be?
Fr Murphy: Choosing just one is
tough. Perhaps it would be his effort (with others like
DeLubac) to stress Mystery in theology over fossilized concepts in
our way of thinking about God and truth.
Balthasar´s understanding of
mystery is different from the way “high scholasticism” viewed it.
For the scholastics, mystery was simply something we can’t know.
Balthasar believed we can know Mystery, because we can know
God. But when we know God there is always infinitely
more that we don’t know than we do. He eludes
us as an inexhaustible Divine Person. Our relationship with him
must be dynamic, personal, like a lover in search of
a deeper knowledge of the Beloved. The more we know
him, the more inexhaustible we realize he is. His splendor
and glory are the goal of our lives. As Balthasar
put it, "Man is the creature with a mystery in
his heart that is bigger than himself. He is built
like a tabernacle around a most sacred mystery."
|Fr Patrick Murphy, LC|
more: for Balthasar, God cannot be reduced to concepts and
petrified ideas. Concepts and definitions are very important in theology,
as he fully realizes, and as the gospels clearly show
us. But they are servants, called to help us to
know and experience the Blessed Trinity, and to live our
obedience to him more authentically. Revelation, after all, is Christ
revealing himself to the Church, and thus revealing the Father
and the Holy Spirit. All truth points to the communion
of persons in God.
Q: What do you think is a
common mistake that Catholics can make in their relationship to
the modern world?
Fr Murphy: We can adopt an easy fortress
mentality and merely hoard the graces we have received from
Christ and the Church for ourselves and for our families,
keeping the world at bay and left to fend for
itself. We can preach only to the choir and in
Catholic-speak, in such a way that we don’t reach other
people, cultures and society at large. I am thinking of
the subcultures that teenagers create (just visit the mall) because
they have not been challenged to embrace the exciting adventure
of the Gospel or show how passionate and fulfilling it
is to follow our Lord Jesus Christ and spread his
awesome love and message to the world.
We must protect
and strengthen our families, for sure, but with the apostolic
thrust to reach others in the mission that each one
of us has been called to by the Lord.
Read Fr Murphy´s latest blog entry: The Disgraced Catholic Church