Sunday, July 6, 2014

Quote from Hans Urs von Balthasar's Glory of the Lord: Seeing the Form


On the gift of the Holy Spirit and inspiration:



“The inspiration, therefore, descends upon believing man from the heights of the absolute as the absolute genius which is essentially superior to man in every respect. And yet, at the same time, the inspiration rises from man’s own most intimate depths: it is the person himself who loves and tastes God, and not an alien principle that does this through the person. As Paul says, such a person is one ‘impelled by the Spirit’ (Rom 8.4, Gal 5.18) and, as such, is not ‘under the law’; but this is so because the Spirit, which cannot be captured by any law and which ‘blows where it wills’ (Jn. 3.8), is a ‘Spirit of sonship’ which makes us ‘children of God’ and thus incorporates us into the divine law of the Son of God (Rom 8.14 f.). The Son, in turn, into whom we are incorporated and with whom we become co-heirs of the Father, is the incarnate Son who suffers, rises up and lives on in the church, and we receive his Spirit only if we enter into the form of his revelation. Once again, all aspirations of a natural aesthetics are here fulfilled and more than fulfilled: this is the inviolate circle of the beautiful that arises between the inspiration from above (and from within) and the attachment to the form from which the light of inspiration must come forth if we are to recognize as beautiful what we have beheld. Already in a natural aesthetics the process of artistic creativity (and in some sense also its ‘repetition’ in the enjoyment of art) is founded upon a mysterious obedience: in the last analysis, the inspired artist does not follow his own idea, but rather allows something ungraspable to cast its rays upon him. To art belongs not only the master’s skill—the ability to translate a vision into sensual form—but also the ability not to obstruct either the illumining action of the idea or, so to speak, the idea’s generation’ and ‘incarnation’ in the mind of the artist. Eternally the artist may choose to appear haughty, but interiorly he must be a humbly receptive womb for the ‘conception’. Only if he knows how to be quite will the anima sing in him.  (p 243-244)

 From The Glory of the Lord by Hans Urs von Balthasar (1982, San Francisco, Ignatius)

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