My new book Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr is available today.
However you choose to read it, please write a review to let others know what you think. Please let me know too.
May Adrienne pray for us.
adrienne von speyr
My new book Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr is available today.
However you choose to read it, please write a review to let others know what you think. Please let me know too.
May Adrienne pray for us.
We are two weeks before my book ships. I believe so strongly in this book and its impact for the scholarly and spiritual study of Adrienne von Speyr and Hans Urs von Balthasar. If you haven't preordered, please do so. You will be supporting me certainly (a good thing, I hope), but also supporting your further growth in deepening your faith in what our Lord has revealed to us in Jesus Christ.
His love endures.
Please preorder Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr.
"Hans Urs von Balthasar is increasingly acknowledged as one of the greatest theologians of the Christian tradition. Unquestionably, he was master of Western civilization as few have ever been and brought all into the key of Christ. His spiritual mentor in this vast undertaking was Adrienne von Speyr, whose work von Balthasar held to be more important than his own. Karl Rahner famously observed that the Christian of the twenty-first century would be a mystic-or not be at all. Adrienne von Speyr models this for us: she was gifted with a 'cataract of mystical graces.' Matthew Lewis Sutton's deep penetration into her mystical gifts offers an excellent introduction to her unique vision and also helps hit the 'reveal codes' button for von Balthasar's theology." - Raymond Gawronski (Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology, Berkeley, CA)
"This book has the potential to do for Adrienne von Speyr's theology what Father Edward Oakes's Pattern of Redemption did for Hans Urs von Balthasar's in the mid-1990s, in this case by accessibly introducing Adrienne to a generation of students and scholars. Focusing on the center of her thought-the opening of heaven through Christ's obedience so that we can share even now in the relationships that characterize the life of the divine Trinity, in light of her own experience of mystical penetration into the Father's sending of the Son and Spirit-Matthew Lewis Sutton ably presents Adrienne's teaching on the full panoply of theological topics. The convergence of her theology with von Balthasar's is striking." - Matthew Levering (Mundelein Seminary)
"Matthew Lewis Sutton's thorough, unpretentious, and lucid introduction to the person and work of Adrienne von Speyr is now the standard guide in English. Indeed, I suspect it will remain the standard for many years to come. If you're looking for an excellent introduction to Adrienne von Speyr, look no further." - Rodney Howsare (DeSales University)
"Matthew Lewis Sutton's explication of Adrienne von Speyr's insight into Christian spirituality untangles the style of the mystical writer, giving the reader access into the deep vision of this contemporary woman, which is too often dismissed as simplistic due to her uncomplicated language by some and as impenetrable due to her circular manner of her writing by others. Sutton's work uncovers wealth within subtlety and gives access to a truly inspired writer for sincere seekers of God's presence in the world. It is a must-read for those who have approached von Speyr but found her difficult to follow." - Justin M. Matro (Saint Vincent Seminary)
Please preorder Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr.
Now available for preorder: my new book Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr.
Adrienne von Speyr was one of the most important mystical theologians of the last century, heralded by figures like John Paul II and T.S. Eliot. However, her work has been eclipsed in many ways by her personal connection to Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. Heaven Opens provides one of the first comprehensive accounts of von Speyr's theology.
My book argues that the eternal, immanent relations of the Triune God ground the mystical theological vision of von Speyr. Rooted in this vision of divine love, von Speyr's work is an account of the opening of heaven, a revelation of the Trinity's interior life turned outward to the world, that links intimately to the sacraments, prayer, the church, and the ethical life of obedience. In von Speyr's mystical theology, God as Triune journeys to us in order to brings us into the inner life of the Trinity. Here, von Speyr's work is for the first time given an independent hearing, expositing its content, features, and connections, and assessing its contribution to contemporary Catholic theology.
Please preorder Heaven Opens.
For Adrienne, prayer is not monologue or even dialogue:
It is impossible for you to pray without also being right with God; that would be like carrying on a conversation while refusing to give your partner a chance to answer; a monologue, however, is never a prayer. (Lumina, p. 54-55)
Yes, prayer could never be a monologue of my words alone toward God. Even petitionary prayer should be seen as the Spirit groaning within us (Romans 8:26). Prayer must be more than monologue otherwise it is only self-talk as good as that could be. Prayer is blissful silence as one is encountered by the Word.
For Adrienne, prayer is not even a dialogue:
A prayer never becomes a dialogue; for either I speak and so do not listen, or God speaks and I am allowed to fall dumb and remain blissfully silent. And in fact, the way every Word of God appears—not sounds—is designed to make us blissful, even when it demands too much from us and uses us up. (Luminia, p. 55)
Yes, prayer could never be dialogue of my words in mêlée with God’s Word. Prayer is God’s word delivered to us, speaking through us. Prayer makes possible, Paul’s statement, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20). As if to say, it is no longer I who pray, but the Word who prays in me.
I was thinking about death lately because I recently taught a graduate Eschatology course and came to this Woody Allen quotation: “It's not that I'm afraid to die it’s just that I don't want to be there when it happens” (Without Feathers, p. 99)
I was also thinking about several people who have died in my life recently and came to this quotation from Adrienne: “Death is God’s invention that finally prevents the sinner from resisting His grace” (Lumina, p. 59)
Yes, in theology, irresistible grace in its Calvinist version and efficient grace in its Catholic version have been isolated to a few select theological niches. Yet, here Adrienne reminds us that death, as an allowed intervention by God to his irresistible, efficient grace, confronts us to his potent, unavoidable presence. It is like the unavoidable presence of a parent extending his arm to his child and says, “Hold my hand.” What child will not accept that invitation? Why do we not see death as the Father extending his arm and saying to the new dead one, “Hold my hand.” Certainly, in death there will be no other hand to hold.
Yes, Woody Allen is right that one should not fear death because as Adrienne says,
“To fear death means to shift it completely into the temporal and to forget the power of the sacraments that ferry us over to the other side, that prepare and purify us. To know death, by contrast, means to know that God remains the eternal giver and that out of a kind of yearning He already uses the moment we pass over to manifest His presence more clearly” (Lumina, p. 60).
We have been given the freedom to love.
On September 29, 2012, I gave a moving presentation on freedom in relation to suffering, love, and the writings of Adrienne von Speyr on Mary.
The word that begins the presentation is from a volunteer at Heart’s Home, Marian W., “I wanted the freedom to love.”
Freedom as a gift from God is the critcal word of the presentation, but then I use it in relation to Adrienne von Speyr’s understanding of Mary as the perfectly free woman to help us understand that freedom enables love.
Here’s the presentation. I hope it helps you to love freely.
You need to read this commentary on the Gospel of Mark. Last fall, Ignatius Press released the translation of Adrienne von Speyr's commentary on Mark. For any theological study of her, this book is central to Adrienne's earlier thought and should belong to any Adrienne essential reading list, which must also include her commentary on John, Handmaid of the Lord, and Confession.
Mark: Meditations for a Community, translated by Michelle K. Borras, is special because of its time and method. When founding her secular institute, the Johannesgemeinshaft, Adrienne composed a series of foundational meditations on the Gospel of Mark to give the new community a a contemplative bedrock. Whereas Balthasar wrote the community's rule with his book Our Task: A Report and a Plan, Adrienne's meditations on Mark were to be the formal spiritual opening of the gate to the community's new life and mission. One of the members present at this gate opening was Frau Cornelia Capol who will tell you that this book is her favorite of all Adrienne's books.
The method of composition is special in that the vast majority of Adrienne works were dictated to Balthasar who later edited them (some more than others) into publishable books. We should remember that he founded the Johannesverlag for publishing these works. So unlike her other books, Mark was dictated to the community and these notes of the community (including Balthasar's initial notes as he tells us in the "Forward" of the book) became the text we now have before us. It appears too that Adrienne was involved in some of the initial editing of these notes. This information should give you an idea of these meditations' importance and also give you insight on how to read the commentary.
Let us think about that insight. Balthasar explained in the "Forward" that the "meditations are addressed to young people who have made a decision for the state of the evangelical counsels in a worldly profession, for a secular institute that was coming into being." In these meditates Adrienne will be using the Gospel of Mark to prepare the community for living in the world following the way of Jesus through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. While of course Adrienne is not intent on composing an academic commentary, her interpretation of the text is all within the dogma of the Catholic Church and comes from her own contemplation. It is also not a full commentary on the Gospel. The passion narratives of Mark were not offered because we are told the initial meditations were given during Eastertide. If you are familiar with Mark this could be read as a major oversight of a proper spiritual commentary, but like all of Adrienne's writings the passion of Christ is never absent. The loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the foundation for one's mission to be in the world through the evangelical counsels.
As I come back to this book now in English having read it in German, I am reminded of how the book gives you continually new openings toward new paths of contemplation. Like a lot of Adrienne's writings, this is a hard book to read quickly. So many doors open as you walk down the hallway of the book. I hope you will read the book and get distracted into deep contemplation.
As a closing, here is a picture I took of Lac-de-Neuchatel from the town of Estavayer-le-Lac where these meditations were given and where the founding of the Johannesgemeinshaft began.
Deo gratias. My book Heaven Opens: The Trinitarian Mysticism of Adrienne von Speyr will be published by Fortress Press and will be available early 2014. Yes, this is a little bit of a long wait, but it will be well worth it. This book will be the first significant book in English on Adrienne von Speyr.
Please stay tuned here for all of the details for how you can get the book to learn more about Adrienne von Speyr's theology of the Trinity.
In the book, you will find a comprehensive presentation of Adrienne von Speyr's mystical visions of the Trinity placed in constructive dialogue with the tradition of Catholic trinitarian theology. The goal of the book seeks to help develop this tradition, to aid your understanding of Adrienne, and more importantly, to guide you in your encounter with the Trinity--the beginning and the end of all love.
My thanks to Fortress Press for accepting the book manuscript and working with me to promote this important book that will help in their mission to make Adrienne von Speyr known.
Thank you for all your support through reading the vonspeyr.net journal, commenting on my posts, and corresponding with me. You've made this book into something better than it ever could have been. Thank you.
In the meantime, let's read some more Adrienne.
"Our Father. Your Fatherhood did not stop when You created us; it remains our lifelong companion; it is not subject to randomness but is steady like nothing else. You were, are, and will remain: the Father, and we have the privilege of calling You that in simplicity and love. But at the same time, we include all the requests that a child, in whatever situation he finds himself, can bring before his father. We stammer, full of care, afraid that You might not understand; and we speak out, calmly, confidently, knowing that You are always ready to receive us, that You have time for all our concerns; and we cry with our last ounce of strength, and what we want is so enormous that even that cry falls short of it. You remain the same, O Father.
"We want to have Your name always on our lips, but it is often smothered by everything that is not You, that is probably just us, us children of ingratitude and unreason. But You know how we are, You are in us, even when we refuse to recognize it. Your greatness, Your unity, fill what we like so much to explain with many words, although we do not have a clear view of it: our inmost being. And this inmost being, our ultimate I-hood, is what is united eternally with You through our voice, for it needs neither to seek nor to find. Despite all sin, it remains intact; despite all external doubts, it does not waver. In all certainty it is tentative and questioning, perhaps still foreign to us, because it consists almost too much of only what is most intimate, ultimately of what comes from You and goes to You, knowing just one word: Our Father.
"Being Father, you give everything, and we receive everything. You do ask for an account, but there is never a final calculation: goes on into your Love."
(Adrienne von Speyr, Lumina and New Lumina, p. 108-109)
A while back, I wrote about how more and more Jesuits are reading Adrienne. They are also writing about her too. Fr. John O'Brien, S.J., has some good introductory words about Adrienne for his blog's readers.
I particularly like this insight:
"Adrienne’s mystical insights all have an Ignatian bent, and are strongly centered on the desire to give oneself radically to follow Christ. ... But it is the humble figure of Mary that grounds Adrienne’s writing in the day-to-day world of the here and now."
Yes, truly Mary helps us live radically in her son and thereby also helping us articulate that living in Christ in the world here and now.
Today is the forty-fifth anniversary of the death of Adrienne von Speyr. In remembrance of her, I've written a piece that has appeared in two of my favorite blogs. The first is Land of Compassion (english) and the second is Terre de Compassion (french).
I hope you will take some time today to think of the great gift given to us in Adrienne.
Maybe you could pray this novena or this prayer below.
Lord our God, give your children ready perseverance in loving you. You know all too well what we are like: moved by your goodness when it comes to us unexpectedly, dismayed by your severity when it reveals itself to us with its demands.
When we live through happy or hard days, we think of you, seeing what comes from you; but in the monotony of every day we grow lukewarm, we forget you, we keep you far from our thoughts and from our action, as if we needed you only on the eventful days, as if we wanted to have you at our disposal
We beg you, change this, let us turn back while there is time, act decisively, tear out our tepidity, replace it with fire or cold or with both at once, only, allow your Spirit to blow in us.
Destroy everything that is not yours, And let us think no thought whose center is not you, so that by this destruction we are compelled to a livelier love.
We do not demand of this love that it be painful or delightful, only that it be yours, forevermore.
Lord, give us the grace to offer you again and again what you have given us. Only in this way will we unprofitable servants not remain fruitless.
Bless your love in us, so that it may yield the fruits that you desire. Amen.
May Adrienne pray for us
A journal article of mine is now available online through the theology journal New Blackfriars. My article called “Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr’s Ecclesial Relationship” explores the double mission charism of their relationship.
Since I analyze this complex relationship theologically through Paul’s theology of charism, I think I’m able to find a more appropriate way to see the mutual influence of these two. In the article, I analyze a couple alternative assessments of this relationship in order to highlight my understanding of it. I appreciate all of the attempts to see von Balthasar on his own apart from von Speyr’s influence. I have learned a lot from these attempts. And yet, in my reading of these two, I find so much more interpretive power by considering them both mutually influencing each other. For me, it is hard to see von Balthasar’s method as articulated in his important article “Theology and Sanctity” without seeing it lived out in his ecclesial cooperation with von Speyr. What is missing in this article is a more exhaustive comparative textual analysis of these two figures. My article only attempts to give a theo-logical interpretive for their ecclesial relationship. I hope you will see this article brings us one step closer to seeing the great gift God has given to the Church through von Balthasar and von Speyr.
Here’s the abstract:
Many systematic theologians acknowledge the relationship between Hans Urs von Balthasar, the significant twentieth-century Catholic theologian, and Adrienne von Speyr, the Swiss physician and Catholic mystic. There is, however, difficulty understanding the actual character and purpose of this relationship. I argue in this paper that Paul’s theology of charism, particularly dealing with double mission charisms, will help us understand correctly the ecclesial relationship between von Balthasar and von Speyr. After an overview of von Balthasar’s statements regarding the relationship and the three main interpretations of it, I offer my own interpretation of this relationship by using Paul’s theology of charism. The ramifications will be a reinterpretation of central aspects of von Balthasar’s theology including but not limited to his theology of Holy Saturday, Trinitarian theology, and theology of the communion of saints.
The print edition of the article may take some time to become available. The editors informed me that it may be in a print issue next year. But with the availability of online early editions, I chose to spread the love now. As with most academic journals, you will need to access the online edition through your academic library in order to read the full article. My thanks to the editors of the New Blackfriars for such a quick turn around on this article.
Please let me know what you think of the article. Enjoy.
The Catholic Iconographer, Fr. William McNichols, S.J., sent me the most beautiful hand-painted icon of Adrienne von Speyr. I hope you will visit his website www.fatherbill.org and consider purchasing one his glorious icons.
Here’s what I have learned about Adrienne von Speyr by praying with this icon.
* wisdom and light obtain a special maturity of radiance in Adrienne’s later years
* true joy comes from surrendering all out of compassion
* prayer includes others even when praying in solitude
* do not let go of the mission - there you will find your identity
More will come. This window into heaven has much to teach me. I hope you’ll visit the beautiful icons written by Fr. McNichols at www.fatherbill.org.
Thank you, Iconographer of Adrienne, for this generous gift. May God bless you and your work.
Adrienne von Speyr has a quite profound understanding of faith that overcomes the usually traps. For Adrienne, our faith is not our own, but is God’s own vision of himself shared with humanity.
“The gift the triune God gives to man in the grace of faith may indeed have a similarity to the reciprocal vision of the three Persons in God and to the incarnate Son’s vision of the Father, but it is the sort of seeing that befalls man in his pilgrim state; it is a relationship that God establishes on his own terms and gives to man, and at the same time allows the believer to give in return.” Adrienne von Speyr, Light and Images, pg. 39
Faith is our entrance into the triune vision of God as God sees his triune self. In this participatory realm of vision, room is created for response. We could call this response assent or even works, but all faith is within the sovereignty of God’s grace. So the assent or work is already within the realm of saving faith, which is already within the realm of God’s own vision of himself.
To see as God sees himself … this is faith and this faith is not our own.
As you may not have realized, the digitial revolution has officially begun. The clear sign—Adrienne von Speyr’s books are now available on the Kindle. The texts available are Book of All Saints, Confession, The Boundless God, To the Heart of the Mystery of the Redemption, and The Christian State of Life. You can also find these e-books at Ignatius Press too. You will also find that Ignatius offers an audio book of Three Women and the Lord
NB: I receive no sponsorship from Amazon, Ignatius Press, or any other publisher of Adrienne von Speyr’s books. I intend to keep it that way. Mind you, no publisher has asked. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Happy e-reading your e-adrienne.
I submitted my book manuscript today. It is a comprehensive interpretation of Adrienne von Speyr’s vision of the Trinity. I focused instensely on the one critical thing in Adrienne’s thought. This one critical thing, her trinitarian mysticism, must be at the center of receiving what is true, good, and beautiful about her writings.
I will let you know the progress of the book manuscript as it advances through the publishing stages. You will know first when the book is available. Like you, I hope it will be published soon, but so many factors and the hard work of good people go into the process. It can take some time. Still, I will be waiting in hope.
And as I wait, please look for more frequent postings here at the best place on the web to learn about Adrienne von Speyr.
If you would like to do a dissertation on Adrienne von Speyr, I wanted to let you know that Dr. Philip Zeigler at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland is very interested in advising research on Adrienne von Speyr. A scholar of twentieth-century Reformed theologians, Dr. Zeigler is well versed in Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar from his studies at the University of Toronto. He is also helping the University of Aberdeen library collect von Speyr’s complete works.
Scotland … a beautiful place for Adrienne von Speyr research.
Thanks to Ms. Lois Miles for this information.
Recently, I spoke with the new international volunteers working with Heart’s Home to prepare them for their compassionate service to those who are suffering.
My thesis for the presentation is this:
“Things have meaning only to the extent that they lead to God, come from him and can be placed at his service” (Adrienne von Speyr, Mystery of Death, p. 47).
Two parts make up this presentation on Adrienne von Speyr and the meaning of suffering. The first part below is an overview of Adrienne’s life and thought especially as it relates the meaning of personhood and how suffering fits within her understanding of being a person in relation to God and others. Here is part one:
I hope you enjoyed that one. We go deeper yet.
The second part of the presentation below is a discussion of the chapter “Death as God’s Action” from Adrienne’s book The Mystery of Death. Here is part two:
I hope you enjoyed that one too.
For those interested in a tangent about how I’ve come to these insights about Adrienne on the meaning of suffering, please continue to read on.
I’ve been working on several major research projects on the meaning of suffering through the academic conference Making Sense of Suffering with the scholar community Inter-Disciplinary.Net. I presented at their Prague conference last year on Balthasar and the Meaning of Suffering. A version of the presentation is in the conference proceedings eBook Making Sense of Suffering: Theory, Practice, and Representation. I will be presenting at their next conference on Adrienne and the Meaning of Suffering, which I will post here when it becomes available. Additionally, if you are really interested in the postmodern debate on the meaning of suffering, I have recently co-edited a book on it, which is will be available in a few months.
Thank you for being such loyal readers of this website. I’m grateful for your comments and emails. Blessings to you all.
Alfred Hitchcock’s “I, Confess”On October 23, 2010 and February 19, 2011, I presented (my best yet) orientation to Adrienne von Speyr and her theology of Confession. I was speaking to Heart’s Home international volunteers (more about them here). You may remember, I gave a presentation to them last summer on Adrienne’s understanding of finitude and infinitude.
Here’s the audio from my presentation: The Mission of Service as Compassionate Confession.
Von Speyr’s theology of Confession from her book Confession places the sacrament within the divine relations of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I have never met a more profound, accessible, important theology of confession anywhere else.
I begin my discussion with this central quotation:
“There is no mission that is not determined decisively by one’s confessional attitude” (Confession, p. 208)
As you follow my discussion of the confessional attitude and how it relates to mission, you will also need these quotations below from Adrienne’s book Confession (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985).
1. “In all events which are not inevitable and in whose course freedom and inclination can intervene, a person usually searches for a solution or a way out and often for a reason or cause as well. … Only when this success fails to materialize according to his wish does he look for the causes behind the failure, and it is in this search that he first encounters the question concerning the state of his own life. … Yet it is precisely when he justifies himself and concludes that he is innocent that his deeper discomfort—the feeling of a hidden guilt—begins” (11).
2. “Ultimately, only the Creator of the human soul will be able to treat it so that it becomes the soul he needs. Only he can heal it, and he does this in ways that only he knows and discloses and prescribes for healing. … the decisive way of God—confession—is based on obedience: more specifically, on the obedience to God” (15).
3. “If a person … comprehends himself as standing before God, and if he knows that he, like Adam, was created by God and redeemed by Christ and that Christ opens for him the way to the Father and the doors of heaven, then … he will expect confession with a kind of necessity” (16).
4. “As long as a person is not confessing, he feels free to speak or keep silent about whatever he wishes. What he then hates in confession is not the humbling experience of revealing himself, and not the fact that he is a sinner—he already knows that somehow—but the necessity of capitulating before and within total confession, the fact that the freedom of selection has been withdrawn and that the only choice remaining is to reveal everything or nothing. He is sick as a whole person and must be healed as such, and not eclectically. That is the first humbling experience. The second is that he is only one of many and has to accept the same conditions as do the others … [he experiences] the elimination of all external differentiation … merely one penitent in the line of other sinners. The peculiarities of my particular ‘case’, which made it seem so interesting to me and which I would so gladly have explained to the listener, do not matter at all any more” (18).
5. “Whoever would learn how to confess must first look at the life of the Son of God” (20).
6. “God stands before God in the attitude that is fitting for God. Analogously, we can designate this as the attitude of confession, since it is the attitude in which God shows himself as he is. … When the Son institutes confession at Easter, he does so to bring this divine attitude closer to human beings, to mediate to them part of the trinitarian life” (21).
7. “One can say that the Lord lives on earth before the Father in the same condition in which the perfect penitent should live before his own confessor, before the Church and before God: in complete openness, concealing nothing, always ready in every moment to expect the intervention of the Holy Spirit, drawing security from the Father and his Spirit instead of from within himself. The Son lives in perpetual contact with the Father, and the expression of this contact is his word, ‘Not my will, but thy will be done’” (23).
8. “Anyone who has recognized, in confession and in the prayer belonging to it, the possibility not only of ridding himself of his own sins through the grace of the Lord but also of helping others at the same time will suddenly realize that there is a place where confession and mission encounter and permeate one another to the point of coincidence” (206).
9. “There is no mission that is not determined decisively by one’s confessional attitude” (208).
I hope that you enjoy this discussion. Please leave your comments below.
NB: If you want to read more, chapter eleven of Confession, which is on the confession of the saints, can be found here.
A new Hans Urs von Balthsar book is out that includes a few selections from Adrienne von Speyr (emphasis on a few).
To the Heart of the Mystery of Redemption (THMR), which you can find here, is actually a book of four authors in one. The shortest contribution comes from von Speyr.
To see von Speyr in print is always good (let us remember the Speyrian phrase “always more”). This book is actually a sketch of von Balthasar’s soteriology with a long essay from Jacques Servais, S.J., a scholar of von Balthasar and von Speyr as well as the director of the Casa Balthasar.
Henri de Lubac, teacher and friend to von Balthasar compiled the original collection, which were two conferences von Balthasar gave to priests in Paris. After these conferences there are seven one-page selections from von Speyr, mostly from Objectiv Mystik and Passion nach Matthaeus. It is fascinating that de Lubac would have included von Speyr in this collection. In the introduction, he says that “there is no better initiation into this mystery than the experience received from the mystics, who are no more lacking to the present generation than to earlier ones” and this why von Speyr’s selections were added because “They will introduce the reader into that participation in the mystery of the redemption” (p. 12). I have always wondered about de Lubac’s understanding of von Speyr. Now we know more.
Fr. Servais was responsible for releasing the book again in French and included with it his essay on Balthasar’s soteriology from 2005. The book has now come to us in English by the translating work of Anne Englund Nash. This book has actually been touched by many hands.
Immer mehr (always more) Adrienne is good. Yet, this book gives us very, very little. True, these are words not yet read by English-only readers of von Speyr. But, after the bold release of Book of All Saints (Nachlassbaende vol. 1), this is disappointing to von Speyr readers.
Let me be clear. The book is not a disappointment. Von Balthasar is at his most highly associative in these conferences. You see his mind at work as he leads you through multiple sources in order to provide you with an elevated ground to consider the whole landscape of soteriology in the modern age. Even though you will need some background in von Balthasar to work through his thoughts here, he is always worth reading.
Still … (how to say this gently) … the English-speaking world needs more substantive von Speyr than this book. What about offering these: Subjective Mystik, Objective Mystik, Markus, and the very important Apokalypse (her commentary on the Book of Revelation)? When the English theological world reads these, Speyrian theology will really blossom.
Yes, read THMR if you are interested in de Lubac, von Balthasar, or Servais. You should know, it is not required reading for those interested in von Speyr. Instead, pick up John, Confession, Handmaid of the Lord, or Book of All Saints. Better yet, read her auf Deutsch. Sie werden nicht enttäuscht sein.
“On the Cross the Lord does not show merely that he allows his grace to flow visibly over all … but he also shows that he can make use of all they have accomplished for him. And thus that he does not suffer his Passion simply for sins, but that he is in a mysterious compassion with all believers. … He assumes all the trials of their faith, of their suffering, and of their availability and opens wide to them the grace that flows from the Cross” (THMR, p. 78).
Immer mehr, please.