North Western Winds

Contemplating it all from the great Pacific Northwest

von Balthasar on parables

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In the Lord’s parables we may contemplate the problem of aesthetic form in its greatest purity: an infinite content becomes transmuted into symbols within an finite form, and this form opens up to the inspired hearer ever new perspectives reaching into infinity. This occurs, moreover, without the form ever leaving behind its finiteness and becoming rarefied into spirit…

In the parables, Jesus never speaks of his love for us or of his deed of redemption. He describes the Kingdom of God in its growth, never making it explicit who it was who planted it on earth. The prodigal son returns to his father’s home without giving even a hint of who is responsible for the grace of his conversion. The Father is always the one who loves and the one who is glorified: this is so in the parables of the merciless servant, of the lord of the vineyard, of the evil vine dressers, of the great banquet, and so forth. Jesus never said he loves us; he only proved it. Perhaps the greatest farewell discourse is an exception: here Love speaks “openly, no longer in images,” but here the situation is that of the Eucharist: Jesus speaks from the hearts of the disciples who have received him; he speaks to them and from within them, to the Father. And the supper is already the beginning of the Passion: the chalice of love has already been poured out, spilled; the farewell discourses are the unrestrained outflowing of the Logos.

Father Hans Urs von Balthasar,from Grains of Wheat: Aphorisms


Written by Curt

July 30, 2006 at 10:33 am

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