In these meditations, the acclaimed theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar investigates the great mystery of death and dying. He asks about the contradiction, inherent in all men, of wishing to achieve something “imperishable” and gives an answer culled from the Scriptures and from the Church Fathers.
“And his mission runs counter to the philosophical teaching on dying: it is not about detaching oneself from the transitory things in order to flee into some real or supposed eternity, but, conversely, about sowing the seed of eternity into the field of the world and letting the Kingdom of God spring up in this field. The field is no more an illusion than man; it is rather the true and realistic creation of God the Father, which now at last must bear its fruit.” (Pages 35–36)
“But what is the mission? It is that by his loving obedience to the very end, he should reconcile to God the world estranged from God, which is possible only by his taking all this estrangement upon himself and bearing it—as an eclipse of God—through to the end, and even beyond its end, since his loving obedience to the Father is deeper and more final than any rebellion of sin can ever be.” (Page 35)
“By the complete surrender of one human nature in Christ’s death, which envelops our dying and leads it along to perfection, powers to love and to achieve are released in our nature that will unfold into God’s eternity.” (Page 43)
“This ‘losing’ of oneself to each other and within each other, however, cannot be called death (or ‘kenosis’, ‘emptying’) but is, rather, a form and expression of utmost aliveness.” (Page 70)
“he has transferred all of his achievement eucharistically into us” (Page 39)