Archive for October, 2012

Doctor, Convert, and Mystic: The Life and Work of Adrienne von Speyr

• Biography of Adrienne von Speyr
• All books by or about Adrienne von Speyr
• Excerpts from books by Adrienne von Speyr
• The Book of All Saints

NEW: Mark: Meditations on the Gospel of Mark | Adrienne von Speyr

These meditations on the Gospel of Mark, with the exception of the second part on the Passion, were given by Adrienne von Speyr between 1945 and 1958 to members of the Community of St. John, which she founded with the renowned theologian, Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar. Adrienne is speaking to young adults who have decided to live the state of the evangelical counsels in a secular profession, as part of a recently established secular institute. Nevertheless this contemplative commentary can be very useful for all who seek to meditate on Holy Scripture.

As always, Adrienne here draws from the abundance of her own contemplation which keeps continually in view the harmonious unity of Christian dogmatic truth; she gives to others what has been offered to her in contemplation, without exegetical notes or any attempt at scholarship. Since she is speaking to novices, the train of thought is simple and practical, yet rich in depth.

The points for meditation are not primarily for spiritual reading, but an introduction to personal prayer. They are meant only to point out a path, because it is the Holy Spirit who directs contemplative prayer in all liberty. As one reads through this book, he will find in it a kind of synthesis of Adrienne von Speyr’s spirituality. This work will also be very useful to preachers, catechists, pastors, communities and institutes who have understood with Pope Benedict XVI that “It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work.”

“These concrete and profound meditations have the potential to open the reader’s ears to hear the living voice of God’s Word resounding in the pages of Mark’s Gospel. Adrienne von Speyr does not offer information, or scholarly commentary, but help in prayerfully receiving the presence of Christ himself. In Adrienne’s hands, Scripture becomes a school of prayer: she leads us to Mark, Mark leads us to Christ, and Christ leads us to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.” — Adrian Walker, Associate Editor, Communio: International Catholic Review

Adrienne von Speyr (1902-1967) was a contemporary Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor, and author of over sixty books on spirituality and theology. She entered the Church under the direction of the great theologianHans Urs von Balthasar. The short bio of von Speyr that follows is based on von Balthasar’s book, First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr (Ignatius, 1981), the most detailed and thorough introduction to her life, theology, and work.

Adrienne was born on September 20, 1902 in the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland into a Protestant family. Her father, Theodor von Speyr was an opthamologist. Her mother, Laure Girard, was the descendant of a family of noted watchmakers and jewelers from Geneva and Neuenburg. Adrienne was the second child. Her sister Helen was a year-and-a-half older. Her first brother, Wilhelm, a physician, was born in 1905 and died in 1978. Her second brother, Theodor, was born in 1913 and was director of a bank in London for many years.

Adrienne’s mother scolded her daily; this led to Adrienne forming a strong trust and devotion to God, as well as a recognition of the meaning of sacrifice and renunciation. She also formed a deep relationship with her grandmother, a holy and pious woman. Adrienne also had a devotion to her father, who treated her with mutual respect and understanding, often taking her with him to the hospital to visit sick children. And in her primary school years she began working with the poor and even formed a society with her friends for those living in poverty.

A very bright student, Adrienne occasionally substituted for one of her teachers who suffered from asthma. It was in her religion classes that she began to sense the emptiness of the Protestantism that was being offered to her. Incredibly, at the age of nine she gave a talk to her classmates about the Jesuits: an “angel” had told her “that the Jesuits were people who loved Jesus totally, and that the truth of God was greater than that of men, and as a result one could not always tell people everything exactly as one understands it in God” (First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr, 21). (When she was six years old, Adrienne told Balthasar, she had a mysterious encounter with St. Ignatius while walking up a steep street on Christmas Eve.) In her secondary school years she reproached her religion teacher for failing to discuss other religious beliefs, especially Catholic teachings.

Adrienne was often sick and had constant backaches that forced her to lie down for long periods of time. She would always become ill before Easter; she explained that it was due to Good Friday. Despite her physical sufferings, she focused on helping others who were suffering, spending time comforting and encouraging hospital patients. Not surprisingly, she went to secondary school with the intention of becoming a doctor, a decision supported by her father but not her mother. And after two years of secondary school, hermother was successful in having her removed on grounds that it allowed too much association with boys. Adrienne then spent a year in an advanced girls’ school; although unhappy, she met her best friend, Madeleine Gallet. The two of them talked constantly about God, the spiritual life, and how they might convert their classmates.

Adrienne’s father permitted her to return to secondary school. Although she was the only girl in her class, she was very popular due to her charm and humor and natural leadership. In November 1917 she experienced a mystical vision, an appearance of Mary surrounded by angels and saints; her later work would always be marked with a deeply Marian character.

Around this same time she knew, somehow, that her father would soon die. After his death (from a perforated stomach), Adrienne attended both business school and secondary school. In 1918 she suffered a total physical collapse brought on by tuberculosis in both lungs. The doctors believed she would die within a year. She was sent to Leysin; there she was cared for by Charlotte Olivier, a relative by marriage and a doctor. Meanwhile, her mother distanced herself even further from her. Adrienne spent time reading and learning Russian. It was in Leysin–where she would often pray in a cold Catholic chapel–that Adrienne began to see that she was being called to the Catholic Church. There was another physical collapse, followed by a return to school.

Her mother arranged for a job and a possible husband, but Adrienne resolved to be a doctor; this led to a lengthy period of silence between mother and daughter. She pursued her studies and an internship; in “these and many other experiences,” noted von Balthasar, “Adrienne learned to seek the God whom she had not yet succeeded in truly finding by the way of service to neighbor.”

In the summer of 1927 she met a history professor, Emil Dürr, a widower with two young sons. They married, but he died suddenly in 1934. Adrienne had passed her state boards shortly after her wedding; she was the first woman in Switzerland to be admitted to the medical profession. In 1936 she married Werner Kaegi, an associate professor under Dürr who took over his Chair of History at the University of Basel.

During the next few years Adrienne made several failed attempts to contact Catholic priests to inform them of her desire to convert. In the fall of 1940 she was introduced to Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar (then a Jesuit), recentlyappointed as student chaplain in Basel. She told him of her desire to become Catholic and she was baptized on the feast of All Saints and was soon confirmed. Her family was initially shocked; it would take years for reconciliation to slowly take place. But she formed friendships with many great Catholic thinkers: Romano Guardini, Hugo Rahner, Erich Przywara, Henri de Lubac, Reinhold Schneider, Annette Kolb, and Gabriel Marcel. Her medical practice was very successful; she had as many as sixty to eighty patients a day.

Von Balthasar wrote that shortly after her conversion, “a veritable cataract of mystical graces poured over Adrienne in a seemingly chaotic storm that whirled her in all directions at once. Graces in prayer above all: she was transported beyond all vocal prayer or self-directed meditation upon in order to be set down somewhere after an indeterminate time with new understanding, new love and new resolutions.” This included “an increasingly open and intimate association with Mary…” Driving home one night shortly after her conversion, she saw a great light in front of the car and she heard a voice say: Tu vivra au ciel et sur lat terre (You shall live in heaven and on earth). This was “the key to all that was to follow” in her life.

The years following 1940 were filled with much physical pain (including a heart attack, diabetes, and severe arthritis and, eventually blindness), mystical experiences (including the stigmata), and a close relationship with Fr. von Balthasar, who became her spiritual director and confidant and with whom she helped found a secular institute, the Community of St John. She began to dictate works to Balthasar, including her interpretations of several books of Scripture (the Johannine writings, some of Paul, the Catholic Epistles, the Apocalypse, and parts of the Old Testament). Balthasar wrote, “She seldom dictated for more than half an hour per day. During vacations she would occasionally dictate for two or three hours, but this was rare.” The result was some sixty books dictated between 1940 and 1953. “Her spiritual productivity knew no limits,” wrote Balthasar, “we could just as well have two or three times as many texts of hers today.”

By 1954 Adrienne was so ill that she had to discontinue her medical practice. She spent hours each day in prayer, knitting clothing for the poor, and reading Bernanos and Mauriac, among other French authors. From her mid-fifties on, she was so ill that physicians wondered how she could remain alive. In 1964 she went blind; her last months were filled with “continuous, merciless torture,” said Balthsar, “which she bore with great equanimity, always concerned about the others and constantly apologetic about causing me so much trouble.” She died on September 17, 1967, the feast of St. Hildegard, also a mystic and a physician.

Balthasar wrote that the three characteristics of von Speyr that were most striking were her joyousness, her courage, and her ability to remain a child, having a childlike clarity and wonder about her. In Our Task (Ignatius, 1994), he provides this character sketch:
She was marked by humour and enterprise. She was like the boy in the fairy tale who sets off to experience fear. At her mother’s instigation she had to leave high school but secretly studied Greek at night by the light of a candle, so she could keep up with the others. In Leysin she learned Russian. After her transfer to the high school in Basel, she quickly learned German and at the same time took a crash course in English to catch up with the rest of the class. As I said, she paid for her medical studies by tutoring. Then there is her courageous readiness to stand up for justice. When a teacher struck a boy in the face with a ruler, she rushed forward, turned the teacher to the face the class, and shouted: “Do you want to see a coward? Here’s one!” On one occasion in the lecture theatre an intern gave an injection to a patient which promptly killed him. The intern falsely blamed it on the nurse and was defended by the professor. Adrienne got her fellow students to boycott the professor’s lectures for so long that he had to move to another university. It was precisely this courage, maintained in the face of the most extreme physical pain, which enabled her after her conversion to take on, for decade after decade, every kind of spiritual and bodily suffering, especially participation in the agony of Christ in Gethsemane and on the Cross. Indeed, when she realised its significance for the reconciliation of the world, she constantly asked for it.
How Does One Read Adrienne von Speyr?” by Hans Urs von Balthasar (First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr, 248-9):
Faced with the quantity of her writings, many are at a loss; they struggle through two or three books and then, on account of the seeming endlessness, they lose the desire and courage to read further. For those I repeat what I said previously: something that has grown out of slow meditation is also properly absorbed only slowly and meditatively. This is especially true of the commentaries on Scripture; they are best suited as a preparation for one’s own contemplative prayer. One reads the verse of Scripture, then Adrienne von Speyr’s reflections on it, and uses them as ‘points of meditation’. For example, the Sermon on the Mount, the Passion According to Matthew, the Letter to the Philippians, and the Letter to the Colossians, the Psalms, and the Parables.

A different approach to her work is offered by her smaller, treatise-like works, which develop a special aspect of her theological vision. Before all others, the Handmaid of the Lordshould be read, then works of smaller scope like the Gates of Eternal Life, The Immeasurable God, The Face of the Father, and similar ones. From this point, the more extensive works like The World of Prayer and Confession are more easily accessible.

Ignatius Press has been translating and publishing many of the works of Adrienne von Speyr since the early 1980s. Here is a listing of her books currently available from Ignatius Press.

• Elijah
• Handmaid of the Lord
• John, Volume 1
• John, Volume 2
• John, Volume 3
• John, Volume 4
• Letter to the Colossians
• Letter to the Ephesians
• Light and Images
• Lumina | New Lumina
• Man Before God
• Mark: Meditations on the Gospel of Mark
• Mary in the Redemption
• My Early Years
• Mystery of Death
• The Book of All Saints
• The Boundless God
• The Christian State of Life
• The Countenance of the Father
• The Cross: Word and Sacrament
• The Gates of Eternal Life
• The Holy Mass
• The Mission of the Prophets
• The Passion from Within
• They Followed His Call
• Three Women and the Lord
• Victory of Love
• With God and with Men: Prayers
• World of Prayer

Books by Hans Urs von Balthasar about Adrienne von Speyr:

• First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr 
• Our Task 

Related Book Excerpts and Articles:

“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.'” (on Mark 10:6-9) | Adrienne von Speyr | From Mark: Meditations on the Gospel of Mark
• Nothingness and Limit | Adrienne von Speyr | From “Limit and Its Overcoming”, chapter one of Man Before God
• Selections from Lumina | New Lumina | Adrienne von Speyr
• Creation | Adrienne von Speyr | From The Boundless God
• Death, Where Is Thy Sting? | Adrienne von Speyr | From The Mystery of Death
• The Confession of the Saints | Adrienne von Speyr. Chapter 11 ofConfession
• Perceiving God’s Will | Adrienne von Speyr | An excerpt from Light and Images
• The Immaculate Conception in the Thought of Adrienne von Speyr | Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC (MotherOfAllPeoples.com)

April 2008: The Book of All Saints | Adrienne von Speyr

Adrienne von Speyr, a renowned mystic and spiritual writer from Switzerland, was received into the Catholic Church at the age of 38 on the Feast of All Saints, 1940, by one of the theological giants of the 20th century, Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar. He became her spiritual director and confessor until herdeath in 1967 during which time Adrienne was favored with many gifts of authentic mystical prayer. Balthasar considered one of the central characteristics of Adrienne’s prayer to be her transparency to the inspirations she received from God, along with a deep personal communion with the saints. Over a period of many years, Adrienne would see the saints (and other devout people) at prayer, and she would dictate what she saw to Fr. von Balthasar–while she was in a state of mystical prayer. Through a unique charism, she was able to put herself in the place of various individuals to see and describe their prayer, their whole attitude before God. Not all of her subjects are saints in the strict sense of the word, but all struggled, with varying degrees of success, to place their lives at the disposal of their Creator.

This book presents these unique mystical insights into the prayer lives of many saints taken from Adrienne’s direct visions of them in prayer. Among the long list of saints in this book are St. John the Apostle, St. Augustine, St. Francis, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. John Bosco, St. Bernadette, St. Dominic, St. Edith Stein and many, many more. In this powerful spiritual work, the reader is able to participate in the devotional and spiritual life of the Church throughout the centuries by learning how numerous saints and devout people prayed, thus reflecting on the timelessness and beauty of the prayer of the Church.

“The Book of All Saints is a wonderful gift to the Church because it shows us how the saints pray and because it invites us–by contagion, as it were–to pray ourselves.” — Hans Urs von Balthasar

• Visit the Book of All Saints website for more info, photos, and other materials.


Read Full Post »

Love Must Be Perceived | Hans Urs von Balthasar | From Love Alone Is Credible | Ignatius Insight

In Hans Urs von Balthasar’s masterwork, The Glory of the Lord, the great theologian used the term “theological aesthetic” to describe what he believed to the most accurate method of interpreting the concept of divine love, as opposed to approaches founded on historical or scientific grounds.

In the newly translated Love Alone Is Credible, von Balthasar delves deeper into this exploration of what love means, what makes the divine love of God, and how we must become lovers of God in the footsteps of saints like Francis de Sales, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux.

This excerpt from Love Alone Is Credible is chapter 5, “Love Must Be Perceived.”

If God wishes to reveal the love that he harbors for the world, this love has to be something that the world can recognize, in spite of, or in fact in, its being wholly other. The inner reality of love can be recognized only by love. In order for a selfish beloved to understand the selfless love of a lover (not only as something he can use, which happens to serve better than other things, but rather as what it truly is), he must already have some glimmer of love, some initial sense of what it is.

Similarly, a person who contemplates a great work of art has to have a gift–whether inborn or acquired through training–to be able to perceive and assess its beauty, to distinguish it from mediocre art or kitsch. This preparation of the subject, which raises him up to the revealed object and tunes him to it, is for the individual person the disposition we could call the threefold unity of faith, hope, and love, a disposition that must already be present at least in an inchoative way in the very first genuine encounter. And it can be thus present because the love of God, which is of course grace, necessarily includes in itself its own conditions of recognizability and therefore brings this possibility with it and communicates it.

After a mother has smiled at her child for many days and weeks, she finally receives her child’s smile in response. She has awakened love in the heart of her child, and as the child awakens to love, it also awakens to knowledge: the initially empty-sense impressions gather meaningfully around the core of the Thou. Knowledge (with its whole complex of intuition and concept) comes into play, because the play of love has already begun beforehand, initiated by the mother, the transcendent. God interprets himself to man as love in the same way: he radiates love, which kindles the light of love in the heart of man, and it is precisely this light that allows man to perceive this, the absolute Love: “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6).

In this face, the primal foundation of being smiles at us as a mother and as a father. insofar as we are his creatures, the seed of love lies dormant within us as the image of God (imago). But just as no child can be awakened to love without being loved, so too no human heart can come to an understanding of God without the free gift of his grace–in the image of his Son.

Prior to an individual’s encounter with the love of God at a particular time in history, however, there has to be another, more fundamental and archetypal encounter, which belongs to the conditions of possibility of the appearance of divine love to man. There has to be an encounter, in which the unilateral movement of God’s love toward man is understood as such and that means also appropriately received and answered. If man’s response were not suited to the love offered, then it would not in fact be revealed (for, this love cannot be revealed merely ontologically, but must be revealed at the same time in a spiritual and conscious way).

But if God could not take this response for granted from the outset, by including it within the unilateral movement of his grace toward man, then the relationship would be bilateral from the first, which would imply a reduction back into the anthropological schema. The Holy Scriptures, taken in isolation, cannot provide the word of response, because the letter kills when it is separated from the spirit, and the letter’s inner spirit is God’s word and not man’s answer. Rather, it can be only the living response of love from a human spirit, as it is accomplished in man through God’s loving grace: the response of the “Bride”, who in grace calls out, “Come!” (Rev 22:17) and, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38), who “carries within the seed of God” and therefore “does not sin” (i jn 3:9), but “kept all of these things, pondering them in her heart” (Lk 2:19, 51), She, the pure one, is “placed, blameless and glorious” (Eph 5:26-27; 2 Cor 11:2) before him, by the blood of God’s love, as the “handmaid” (Lk 1:38), as the “lowly servant” (Lk 1:48), and thus as the paradigm of the loving faith that accepts all things (Lk 1:45; 1I:28) and “looks to him in reverent modesty, submissive before him’ (Eph 5:24, 33; Col 3:18).

Had the love that God poured out into the darkness of nonlove not itself generated this womb (Mary was pre-redeemed by the grace of the Cross; in other words, she is the first fruit of God’s self-outpouring into the night of vanity), then this love would never have penetrated the night and it would never in fact have had the capacity to do so (as a serious reading of Luther’s justus-et-peccator theology illuminates in this regard). To the contrary, an original and creaturely act of letting this be done (fiat) has to correspond to this divine event, a bridal fiat to the Bridegroom. But the bride must receive herself purely from the Bridegroom ([kecharitoméne] Lk 1:28); she must be “brought forward” and “prepared” by him and for him ([paristánai] 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:27) [1] and therefore at his exclusive disposal, offered up to him (as it is expressed in the word [paristánai]; cf. the “presentation” in the temple, Lk 2:22 and Rom 6:13f; 12:1; Col 1:22, 28).

This originally justified relationship of love (because it does justice to the reality) in itself threads together in a single knot all the conditions for man’s perception of divine love: (1) the Church as the spot less Bride in her core, (2) Mary, the Mother-Bride, as the locus, at the heart of the Church, where the fiat of the response and reception is real, (3) the Bible, which as spirit (-witness) can be nothing other than the Word of God bound together in an indissoluble unity with the response of faith.

A “critical” study of this Word as a human, historical document will therefore necessarily run up against the reciprocal, nuptial relationship of word and faith in the witness of the Scripture. The “hermeneutical circle” justifies the formal correctness of the word even before the truth of the content is proven. But it can, and must, be shown that, in the relationship of this faith to this Word, the content of the Word consists in faith, understood as the handmaid’s fiat to the mystery of the outpouring of divine love. But insofar as the Word of Scripture belongs to the Bride-Church, since she gives articulation to the Word that comes alive in her, then (4) the Bride and Mother, who is the archetype of faith, must proclaim this Word, in a living way, to the individual as the living Word of God; and the function of preaching (as a “holy and serving office”), like the Church herself and even the Word of Scripture, must be implanted by the revelation of God himself, as an answer to that revelation, as it is illuminated by the relationship between the Church and the Bible.

To be sure, the response of faith to revelation, which God grants to the creature he chooses and moves with his love, occurs in such a way that it is truly the creature that provides the response, with its own nature and its natural powers of love. But this occurs only in grace, that is, by virtue of God’s original gift of a loving response that is adequate to God’s loving Word. And therefore, the creature responds in connection with, and “under the protective mantle” of, the fiat that the Bride-Mother, Mary-Ecclesia, utters in an archetypal fashion, once and for all. [2]

It is not necessary to measure the full scope of the faith achieved in human simplicity and in veiled consciousness in the chamber at Nazareth and in the collegiurn of the apostles. For the unseen seed that was planted here needed the dimensions of the spirit or intellect to germinate: dimensions that, once again, stand out in a fundamental and archetypal way in the Word of Scripture, but which first unfold in the contemplation of the biblical tradition over the course of centuries–”written on the tables of our hearts” and henceforth “to be known and read by all men” (2 Cor 3:2-3), written “in persuasive demonstrations of spirit and power”, spirit as power and power as spirit (i Cor 2:4). That which the “Spirit” of God, however, interprets in our hearts with “power” (and which the Church interprets in “service to the Spirit” [2 Cor 3:8]) is nothing other than God’s own outpouring of love in Christ; indeed, the Spirit is the outpouring of the Son of God, “the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor 3:18), since the Lord himself “is Spirit” (2 Cor 3:17).

When Christ is immediately thereafter designated the “Image of God” (2 Cor 4:4), then this expression ought not to be reduced to mythical terms, since myth was definitively left behind with the dimension of the Incarnation of the Word, which surpassed it. He is the “Image”, which is not a merely natural or symbolic expression, but a Word, a free self-communication, and precisely therefore a Word that is always already (in the grace of the Word) heard, understood, and taken in, otherwise, there would be no revelation. There is no such thing as a “dialogical image”, except that which exists at the higher level of the Word, although it remains true–and contrary to what Protestant and existential theology may claim–that the Word preserves and elevates in itself all the value of the image at the higher level of freedom. if the Word made man is originally a dialogical Word (and not merely in a second moment), then it becomes clear that even the level of the unilateral (ethical-religious) teaching of knowledge has been surpassed.

It is not possible that Christ could have written books (“about” something, whether about himself, about God, or about his teaching); the book “about” him must concern the trans-action between him and the man whom he has encountered, addressed, and redeemed in love. This means that the level on which his Holy Spirit expresses himself (in the letter), must necessarily itself be “in the spirit” (of the love of revelation and the love of faith), in order to be “objective” at all. To put it another way, the site from which love can be observed and generated cannot itself lie outside of love (in the “pure logicity” of so-called science); it can lie only there, where the matter itself lies–namely, in the drama of love. No exegesis can dispense with this fundamental principle to the extent that it wishes to do justice to its subject matter.


[1] ThWNT, 5:835-40.

[2] Augustine offers a magnificent description of the archetypal prius, of the perfect Yes in theConfessions (XII, 15; PL 32, 833): “Do you deny that there is a sublime created realm cleaving with such pure love to the true and truly eternal God that, though not coeternal with him, it never detaches itself from him and slips away into the changes and successiveness of time, but rests in utterly authentic contemplation of him alone? . . . We do not find that time existed before this created realm, for ‘wisdom was created before everything’ (Eccles. [Sir] 1:4). Obviously this does not mean your wisdom, our God, father of the created wisdom … [but] that which is created, an intellectual nature which is light from contemplation of the light. But just as there is a difference between light which illuminates and that which is illuminated, so also there is an equivalent difference between the wisdom which creates and that which is created, as also between the justice which justifies and the justice created by justification. . . . So there was a wisdom created before all things which is a created thing, the rational and intellectual mind of your pure city, our ‘mother which is above and is free’ (Gal 4:26)…. O House full of light and beauty! … During my wandering may my longing be for you! I ask him who made you that he will also make me his property in you, since he also made me” (Confessions, trans. Henry Chadwick [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991; reissued as an Oxford World’s Classics paperback 1998], 255-56).

Excerpts from the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar:

• Introduction | From Adrienne von Speyr’s The Book of All Saints
• The Conquest of the Bride | From Heart of the World
• Jesus Is Catholic | From In The Fullness of Faith: On the Centrality of the Distinctively Catholic
• A Résumé of My Thought | From Hans Urs von Balthasar: His Life and Work
 Church Authority and the Petrine Element | From In The Fullness of Faith: On the Centrality of the Distinctively Catholic
• The Cross–For Us | From A Short Primer For Unsettled Laymen
• A Theology of Anxiety? | The Introduction to The Christian and Anxiety
• “Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary” | From Credo: Meditations on the Apostles’ Creed

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-88) was a Swiss theologian, considered to one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and writers of the twentieth century. Incredibly prolific and diverse, he wrote over one hundred books and hundreds of articles. Read more about his life and work in the Author’s Pages section of IgnatiusInsight.com.

Read Full Post »

Beethoven Moonlight Sonata (Sonata al chiaro di luna)

travel with me sweet love of mine
the night is nothing to fear
the sun nothing from which to hide
all the notes of heaven’s stars
wake with your smile
and lose their troubles in your sea
of dreams
travel through the melody
with me
hold life close in your heart
and know you were born to grow
into the hand of God
into the arms of Love.

(c) shannan suzzette

Read Full Post »

“we are Love in its purest earthly form when we allow ourselves to be filled with God’s sweet everpresent illuminating grace. when we really give our whole heart to another we finally come to understand what Jesus gave to us. everything.” -Owen Joseph/shannan suzzette

Read Full Post »

Dr. Scott Hahn was born in 1957, and has been married to Kimberly since 1979. He and Kimberly have six children and are expecting their fifth grandchild. An exceptionally popular speaker and teacher, Dr. Hahn has delivered numerous talks nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith. Hundreds of these talks have been produced on audio and videotapes by St. Joseph Communications. His talks have been effective in helping thousands of Protestants and fallen away Catholics to (re)embrace the Catholic faith.

He is currently a Professor of Theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990, and is the founder and director of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. In 2005, he was appointed as the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hahn is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb’s Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are Many Are Called, Hope for Hard Times, The Catholic Bible Dictionary, and Signs of Life.

Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a triple-major in Theology, Philosophy and Economics from Grove City College, Pennsylvania, in 1979, his Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1982, and his Ph.D. in Biblical Theology from Marquette University in 1995. Scott has ten years of youth and pastoral ministry experience in Protestant congregations (in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Kansas and Virginia) and is a former Professor of Theology at Chesapeake Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1982 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, Virginia. He entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, 1986.

Read Full Post »

Dr. Scott Hahn, the Fr. Michael Scanlan Chair in Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization, spoke to Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 2010 Defending the Faith Conference “Be Transformed by the Renewal of Your Mind.” This is a 20 minute excerpt from the larger talk “Should Catholics Have Assurance of Salvation?”

Here he explains the distinction between the belief that “once saved, always saved,” and the Catholic belief that followers of Christ may have the “assurance of hope.” “Despair is like an act of spiritual suicide,” explained Hahn. “You are never beyond the saving reach of God’s all-powerful mercy. His love and his capacity to save us is always greater than our capacity to sin, if only we turn and repent.”

Read Full Post »

“God gives me what I want because I want what God gives me.” – Saint Therese of Liseux via Dr. Scott Hahn

Read Full Post »

“humility is the virtue that takes the vice out of pride” – Dr. Scott Hahn

Read Full Post »

“it is important to put our deeds on the table in the light. otherwise by hiding them we are saying they are unforgivable. to God there is nothing unforgivable as He sees everything we do anyway. confession is for us to see ourselves. God knows better than you do what you did but He wants you to know so you will know all He has to forgive and see how He goes about cleansing it and absolving it in your life. our sins are nothing that God hasn’t heard before. yet His Love is something we may not have known before we gain the courage to confess our sins and sincerely find the true relief, real freedom, and eternal unconditional Love in His Grace. and the truth shall set us free. comprehensive healthcare is a clear heart. life is not about being right it is about having right relationships…only then can we experience real Love. only Love is real and only Love is forever. we forgive and are forgiven because we love and we are loved in the Light.”- Owen Joseph Tierney Jr./Shannan Suzzette Taylor

Read Full Post »

If they talk about the sacrament of Confession at all, Catholics will discuss the decline in use of the Sacrament of Penance among the faithful in the last few decades.

With the small confession lines on Saturdays, it seems that Confession has gone out of style. You hear the usual arguments: “I haven’t killed anyone or committed murder.” “I’ve been good.” “I haven’t broken any of the commandments.”

The Church infallibly teaches that the penitent need confess only mortal sins (that is, gravely wrong desires, thoughts, words and actions performed with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will) in the context of the Sacrament; however, she earnestly recommends that venial sins, also, be confessed because such acknowledgment leads to self–knowledge of one’s own weakness, humility in “owning up” to what one has done wrong, and an increase in sanctifying grace.

In this CD, Dr. Scott Hahn presents the historical and biblical origins of the Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation), which is probably the most misunderstood of the Seven Sacraments. He provides an important guide for new Catholics, a source of renewal for “old hands”, and a challenge to all of us to deepen our relationship with Christ through regular use of the Sacrament of Penance.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: