October 11th, 2005

I See You!

Personal: The Wheel of Time Continues!

Today's the day!

If only I could afford the time away from reading for doctoral exams! For the first time since I began reading this, I'll pick up the latest volume of the World's Longest Novel, and . . . not read it right away. Oh, well, it'll wait on my shelf for me to finish up....

And oh, isn't the Brit edition so much more respectiable-looking?


Theological Notebook: Von Balthasar at 100

This entry copied from arisbe's journal. I'm glad he pointed this out for us. Von Balthasar's Love Alone Is Credible, which I think is the best introduction or overall summation of his work and approach, is once again in print and currently available from Amazon. If you want to treat yourself to a wonderful piece of spiritual reading, this is your chance.

Love Alone Is Credible

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the message Benedict XVI sent to the participants in the international congress entitled "Love Alone Is Credible," held at the Lateran University, on the centenary of the birth of Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar.

* * *

Lord Cardinals
Venerated Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a particular pleasure to unite myself spiritually to you in the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Hans Urs von Balthasar, the noted Swiss theologian whom I had the joy to know and meet frequently. I think that his theological reflection maintains intact, to this day, a profound timeliness and leads many to penetrate ever more in the profundity of the mystery of faith, held by the hand of such an authoritative guide.

On an occasion such as this, it would be easy to fall into the temptation to return to personal memories, based on the sincere friendship that united us and on the numerous works that we undertook together, addressing many of the challenges of those years. The foundation of the Communio review, at the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, continues to be the most evident sign of our common commitment in theological research. However, I do not wish to make reference to memories, but rather to the richness of von Balthasar's theology.

He made the mystery of the Incarnation the favored object of his study, seeing in the "triduum paschale" [Easter triduum] -- as he significantly entitled one of his writings -- the most expressive form of God's entry in the history of man. In the death and resurrection of Jesus, in fact, is revealed in fullness the mystery of the Trinitarian love of God. Here the reality of faith finds its unsurpassable "beauty." In the "drama" of the paschal mystery, God fully lives his humanity, but at the same time gives meaning to man's action and content to Christian commitment in the world. </a>

This is how von Balthasar saw the "logic" of Revelation: God became man so that man may live the communion of life with God. In Christ is offered the final and definitive truth of the search for meaning that each one poses to himself. Theological aesthetics, drama and logic, constitute the trilogy, in which these concepts find ample space and convinced application. I can attest that his life was a genuine search for truth, which he understood as a search of the true Life. He sought the traces of God's presence and his truth everywhere: in philosophy, in literature, in religions, always breaking those circuits which often imprison reason, opening it to the realms of the infinite.

Hans Urs von Balthasar was a theologian who put his research at the service of the Church, as he was convinced that only theology could be characterized by the ecclesial. Theology, as and how he conceived it, had to be combined with spirituality; only in this way, in fact, could it be profound and effective.
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Personal: Louder Than Bombs

I know, I know, I keep apologizing for not being able to write much. I do wonder what I'll miss: I've been lucky to trip across the pregnancy and new job announcements that I have. So, I'm only online here very quickly (before going back to grading--the worst part of being a teacher) to crow and shout with glee. Not because of the release of Jordan's Knife of Dreams--which I bought, but have to ignore, although I read a wee bit on the bus between Borders and campus--but because today, after at least three and maybe four years has seen former student Brian Nolan (see caveman in picture) at long, long last finally returned the Smiths' Louder Than Bombs CD that he borrowed from me his senior year in high school. I saw that Brian was living with another former student, the artist holidaymonster, and so I was able to harrange and harrass him with new gusto.

Louder Than Bombs has always been my favourite collection of the Smiths' music, even though it's not properly an "album" of theirs, but rather a collection of singles and such. This was probably the most listened-to music of my undergrad years and was hugely meaningful to me at the time, and is still something I can listen to with pleasure, although some of that is now nostalgia. I found myself not even terribly interested in seeing Morrissey when he went on tour last year, even though he performed a few blocks from here: I just found myself shaking my head that he still seemed to be going on about the same things, despite all the years. I guess I just can't be as compelled by an artist who doesn't seem to grow with me over the years.

I am surprised, though, hearing these tunes again, that this didn't make as much of an impression in my writing as I might have expected. Certainly Morrissey's lyric-writing have likely had a long-term effect in my own refining of my words, but the style of presentation lyrically, and the lush guitar-laden music of Johnny Marr aren't obvious influences in Life and Other Impossibilities or in what I've written since, as far as I can tell. Certainly my friends from undergrad, who were overwhelmed by my devotion to this disc, would be amazed. And perhaps grateful. Nevertheless, I did a little dance of joy in the elevator when I figured out what the package was. What a collection! Masters of the three-minute pop song, this disc has 24 tracks while being no longer than my own ten-track album. I'm sure there's a thing to learn there, too. This is a CD well worth picking up if you don't own it, and has been sorely missed in my music collection over the past several years.

iTunes, meet Louder Than Bombs.
I left the north
I travelled south
I found a tiny house
And I can’t help the way I feel
Oh yes, you can kick me
And you can punch me
And you can break my face
But you won’t change the way I feel
’cause I love you

And is it really so strange ?
Oh, is it really so strange ?
Oh, is it really so, really so strange ?
I say no, you say yes
(but you will change your mind) ...