88 Hans Urs von Balthasar Quotes on Catholicism, Seeing the Form and Catholicism - Quotes.pub

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Philosophy can speak of the Cross in many tongues; when it is not the ‘Word of the Cross’ (1 Corinthians 1, 18), issuing from faith in Jesus Christ, it knows either too much or too little. Too much: because it makes bold with words and concepts at a point where the Word of God is silent, suffers and dies, in order to reveal what no philosophy can know, except through faith, namely, God’s ever greater Trinitarian love; and in order, also, to vanquish what no philosophy can make an end of, human dying so that the human totality may be restored in God. Too little, because philosophy does not measure that abyss into which the Word sinks down, and, having no inkling of it, closes the hiatus, or deliberately festoons the appalling thing with garlands: The Cross is thick bestrewn with roses: who has joined roses to the Cross?37 in place of Jerome’s ‘naked, to follow the Naked One’. Either philosophy misconceives man, failing, in Gnostic or Platonic guise, to take with full seriousness his earthly existence, settling him elsewhere, in heaven, in the pure realm of spirit, or sacrificing his unique personality to nature or evolution. Or, alternatively, philosophy forms man so exactly in God’s image and likeness that God descends to man’s image and likeness, since man in his suffering and overcoming of suffering shows himself God’s superior. Here God only fulfils himself and manages to satisfy his own desires by divesting himself of his essence and becoming man, in order, as man, ‘divinely’ to suffer and to die. If philosophy is not willing to content itself with, either, speaking abstractly of being, or with thinking, concretely of the earthly and worldly (and no further), then it must at once empty itself in order to ‘know nothing . . . except Jesus Christ and him crucified’ (I Corinthians 2, 2). Then it may, starting out from this source, go on to ‘impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification’ (ibid., 2, 7). This proclamation, however, rises up over a deeper silence and a darker abyss than pure philosophy can know.