Return to Rahner
Robert P. Imbelli May 26, 2011 - 8:20am
For approximately 15 years Karl Rahner was the contemporary Catholic theologian most influential upon my own theological understanding and development. Perhaps the earliest work of his I read was the evocative "Encounters with Silence." I greatly resonated with the cosmic vision of his "Theology of Death." And I can still remember the place and time when I first read, with excitement, his essay "The Concept of Mystery in Catholic Theology."His influence upon me faded when I found myself in new teaching circumstances and when I found myself less happy with the use made of his thought by some of his North American "disciples." Though they appealed to Rahner, they also lamented his "excessive Christocentrism" which they felt had to be "transcended."It is, therefore, with some delight that I've begun to read Karl Rahner again, in particular the essays in volume 18 of the "Theological Investigations." In the essay, "What Does It Mean Today to Believe in Jesus Christ?", he concludes:
If we love Jesus, quite personally and directly, if in our love we allow his life and his fate to become the inner form and entelechy of our own life, then we learn that he is the way, the truth, and the life, that he leads us to the Father, that we may and can call the incomprehensible God "Father" despite his namelessness, that God's namelessness and pathlessness can be our own home, bringing us not extinction, but eternal life.We must love Jesus in the unconditional acceptance of his life's fate as our own norm of existence, in order to experience serenely and joyously our own existence as finally redeemed.
About the Author
Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is an associate professor of theology at Boston College.