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I notice that Freedom Publishing (March AD2000, page 19) includes Cosmic Liturgy (1941) by Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-88), published in English by Ignatius Press in 2003.
We are reminded that after St Maximus the Confessor (580-662) died - 30 years after Muhammad (570-632) - the cosmic dimensions of Christology suffered an eclipse, at least in the West. As Fr Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) said in 1968 (Introduction to Christianity, 1971, p.52), the Roman or Western creed was more concerned with the history of salvation than with Christology as such: 'The East, on the other hand, has always sought to see the Christian faith in a cosmic and metaphysical perspective.'
However, the future Pope said, 'This enlarged perspective is at last beginning to gain currency in Western consciousness as well, especially as a result of stimuli from the work of Teilhard.'
Born in the volcanic Auvergne province of central France in 1881, Pierre Teilhard's father introduced him to the universe of creation. His mother introduced him to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which he later came to see with the eyes of a Christian mystic or 'seer' as the Sacred Heart of creation as a whole. Shortly before he died in New York on Easter Sunday 1955, Father Teilhard reminded us that there is more in the 'Total Christ' than man and God. There is also the cosmic body of his incarnation.
There is, in fact, only one body. For the basic substance of all creation was made by God the Father first and foremost for the incarnation of God the Son - through him, in him and for him (Col.1:16). That is what Blessed Franciscan John Duns Scotus (1266-1308) called 'the primacy of Christ.'
And we - having been chosen in Christ before the world was made (Eph 1:4) - are each given an ever- changing part of the cosmic body of the total Christ for the duration of our own earthly lives. After that - stripped to nothing but the point of one's own existence - we are hopefully called to be clothed in the body and blood of the Risen Lord, the Lamb of God. 'Blessed are those who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb' (Rev. l9:9).
Thus we are indeed called to Cosmic Liturgies and to sing what James McAuley called 'Songs of Cosmic Praise!'
'Yes - cosmic!', Pope John Paul II exclaimed (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n.8).
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 4 (May 2008), p. 14
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