Tag Archives: Hans Urs von Balthasar

Holy Saturday from an Orthodox perspective

Holy Saturday is one of the mis-understood days the sacred Triduum. As a church body, we just don’t have a firm  grasp of what Mother Church has to say and experience. Several theologians, for example, Popes John Paul and Benedict, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Richard John Neuhaus have all tried to focus our attention on what God has done for us on Holy Saturday. Father Alexander Schmemann, an orthodox liturgical theologian and priest, is one of my favorite liturgical authors. Sadly, he died of cancer many years ago, but his work continues to bear much fruit, as I hope you will appreciate by reading the following entry. Since today is Holy Saturday for the Orthodox Church, I am offering for our meditation (a review?) the events of our salvation.


Great and Holy Saturday is the day on which Christ reposed in the tomb. The Church calls this day the Blessed Sabbath.

“The great Moses mystically foreshadowed this day when he said:

God blessed the seventh day.

This is the blessed Sabbath

This is the day of rest,

on which the only-begotten Son of God rested from all His works….” (Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday)

Holy Saturday icon.jpg

By using this title the Church links Holy Saturday with the creative act of God. In the initial account of creation as found in the Book of Genesis, God made man in His own image and likeness. To be truly himself, man was to live in constant communion with the source and dynamic power of that image: God. Man fell from God. Now Christ, the Son of God through whom all things were created, has come to restore man to communion with God. He thereby completes creation. All things are again as they should be. His mission is consummated. On the Blessed Sabbath He rests from all His works.

THE TRANSITION

Holy Saturday is a neglected day in parish life. Few people attend the Services. Popular piety usually reduces Holy Week to one day–Holy Friday. This day is quickly replaced by another–Easter Sunday. Christ is dead and then suddenly alive. Great sorrow is suddenly replaced by great joy. In such a scheme Holy Saturday is lost.

In the understanding of the Church, sorrow is not replaced by joy; it is transformed into joy. This distinction indicates that it is precisely within death that Christ continues to effect triumph.

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The Eucharistic Theology of Pope Francis: Covenant and holiness for service and life

Breaking of the bread. Español: Fracción del p...

As the “new man” on the block I am trying to figure what the new Roman Pontiff’s taught prior to his move to Rome. In 2008, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio now Pope Francis, was invited to give a teaching on the Holy Eucharist to International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec City, Canada. The title of his talk was “The Eucharist: Gift of God for the Life of the World.”

I would say that his controlling idea is based on the Aparecida document where it is written, “The Eucharist is the vital center of the universe, able to satisfy our hunger for life and happiness. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood in this happy banquet participates in eternal life, and thus our daily existence is transformed into an extension of the Mass.” He then develops the theme of the Eucharist as gift and mission in light of the Church’s enduring self-understanding as covenant. He appeals to tradition, some saints and the Mother of God to demonstrate that evangelization is about Eucharistic Presence, sacrifice, and communion. He argues in the key of communio theology.


Much of what we’ve heard in the last two weeks in his papal addresses and homilies given here.


The text: Bergoglio Eucharist Gift of God for the Life of the World.pdf

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What Benedict XVI will be reading?

vB Post Critical Bib Inter.pngI can’t verify this information personally but Salt and Light TV heard the news bite, and it sounds right, that one of the books Benedict XVI will be reading in his retirement is W.T. Dickens’ Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theological Aesthetics: A Model for Post-Critical Biblical Interpretation (UND Press, 2003).

Dr. Dickens also published a journal article in The Heythrop Journal, “The Liturgical Shaping of Biblical Interpretation” (March 2012; Vol. 53, Is 2;  pp. 191-203).

W.T. Dickens earned his doctorate at Yale, was a visiting professor at Cornell University and is now the Chair of Religious Studies at Siena College.

What is the Church for?

We inundate Him with problems, with demands for information, for clues, for an easier path, forgetting that in his Word he has given us the solution to every problem and all the details we are capable of grasping in this life.

Hans Urs von Balthasar

Hans Urs von Balthasar

balthasar with mickey.jpg

Today marks the 24th anniversary of the great Swiss theologian [and cardinal-elect] Hans Urs von Balthsar. 
Von Balthasar was a brilliant theologian who served the Church well. His theological legacy continues in the publication of his books and articles and through the international Communio journal.
He was nominated by Blessed John Paul II to be a cardinal three times, declining the dignity twice; the third time he accepted it but he died the night before receiving the cardinal’s hat.

Eternal memory!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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