The Risk of Encounter
Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar are rightly considered the two giants of twentieth century Catholic theology, indeed, as contemporary “doctors of the church.”
Though their approach to theology is often dramatically different, they converge upon the heart of the matter: the person of Jesus Christ as God’s very presence in our midst and our call to loving relationship with God in Christ.
Two-thirds of the way through Rahner’s daunting Foundations of Christian Faith, one finds this lyrical outpouring: spiritual food to satisfy Lenten fast.
Christian life is not merely satisfying universal norms which are proclaimed by the official church. Rather in these norms and beyond them it is the always unique call of God which is mediated in a concrete and loving encounter with Jesus in a mysticism of love. This is always quite unique and cannot be deduced from anything. Nevertheless, it is practiced within the community of those who believe and love which we call church. For in the church, in its gospel, in the kerygma which is directed beyond all teaching to the unique heart of each individual, in sacrament, in the celebration of the Lord’s death, but also in private prayer and in the ultimate decision of one’s conscience, Jesus offers himself immediately as the Christ, and in him God offers himself.