On May 29, 2009, I will be presenting a paper called "Paul's Theology of Charism and the Ecclesial Relationship between Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr" at the annual meeting of the College Theology Society.
I gave an undergraduate-friendly version of this presentation a few months ago. Here is the abstract of my upcoming presentation:
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. What precisely does von Balthasar mean when he calls the greater part of his writings "a translation of what is present in more immediate, less technical fashion in the powerful work of Adrienne von Speyr" (Hans Urs von Balthasar, My Work in Retrospect, 105)?
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. While Paul's theology of charism (1 Cor 12-14) speaks mostly of singular missions (preaching, teaching, etc.) for the building up of the church, he also sees a necessary place for double missions. For example, the charism given to the interpreter of tongues accompanies the one who speaks in tongues "so that the Church may be edified" (1 Cor 14:5). This Pauline theology of the mutual dependence of charisms will provide a way for understanding the inextricably interwoven relationship between Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.
The presentation is my small effort to advance the essential insight that the joint work of von Balthasar and von Speyr is inextricably connected. To be comprehensive and valuable, interpretations of their work must acknowledge this connection.