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Love Alone Is Credible, by Hans urs von Balthasar

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 Contents - Apr 2005AD2000 April 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pope's suffering a potent Easter witness - Michael Gilchrist
Australia prepares for World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
'Flying bishops' consecrated for orthodox Anglicans - Fr Nigel Zimmerman
Exploding myths about the 'pre-Vatican II' Church - John Young
Vocations: Why some new religious orders are attracting recruits - Fr John Hogan
Events: Carnivale Christi returning to Sydney with an Easter theme - Liz Arblaster and Anthony McCarthy
Cardinal Ratzinger: Liturgy should be God-centred - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Letters: Dissent - Fr John Speekman
Scripture: So, what else did Jesus say? - Gavan O'Farrell
Adore 05: Sydney's successful Eucharistic Youth Congress - Nicole Osmak
Letters: ACU - Sabina Sannen
Letters: Chavagnes International College - Raymond De Souza
Letters: Teaching the faith - Rosanna Sherman
Letters: Stations of the Cross - D.T.S. Moorhouse
Letters: Religious habit - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Practice of faith - Br Con Moloney CFC
Letters: Confession - J.G. Wilson
Letters: Talking in Church - Judith McRae
Letters: Christ the Creator - Gerard J. Keane
Letters: Good news - Geoff Storey
Letters: Pregnancy Assistance - Brian A. Peachey
Books: The Path to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Catholic Church - Michael Casanova (reviewer)
Books: Love Alone Is Credible, by Hans urs von Balthasar - Kerrie Allen (reviewer)
Books: Mass Without a Congregation: A Sign of Unity or Division? - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Poetry: A Centurion Reflects - Bruce Dawe
Books: Religious resources for 2005
Reflection: Pope John Paul II: 'In the risen Christ all creation rises to new life' - Pope John Paul II
Marian Valley Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians, Canungra

by Hans urs von Balthasar

(Ignatius, 2004, 153pp, $29.95. Available from AD Books)

This book is the newest translation of von Balthasar's work. In it he delves deeply into the exploration he began in his masterpiece, The Glory of the Lord, of what love means and what makes the divine love of God.

To understand this love, he says we must become lovers of God following in the footsteps of saints like Francis de Sales, John of the Cross and Thérèse of Lisieux. He writes: "Lovers are the ones who know most about God; the theologian must listen to them".

This is a book that provides deep insights and profound theological meditations upon the topic of love. Although at times the language is deeply philosophical, patient reading and contemplation serve to deepen and inform the faith of the reader.

Von Balthasar writes: "... man possesses love insofar as love possess him". Love must possess the innermost heart of man and must then "reorganise" him. Man is then able to be a fragrance of Christ in the world, one that announces something of the infinity of love.


In discussing love von Balthasar refers frequently to the bride-bridegroom relationship of Christ and the Church. The sacraments, he says, are "the immediate articulation of the bridegroom's love for his bride", and we the faithful are the recipients of this love. In describing "Love as Deed", he proclaims the Eucharist as "contemplation in love and the communion of love with love", and that it is only from this celebration that one can begin Christian mission in the world.

He explains that it is the love of Christ manifest in man which enables the Christian to choose an externally analogous path - he does not do it to perfect himself nor to find perfect happiness, but does it for love's sake - because within that love his self-sacrifice has meaning for God and humanity. This is in great contrast to the Buddhist monk who seeks to achieve wisdom and perfect happiness by giving away all worldly possessions.

Love Alone is Credible is a highly recommended book for those who seek to understand more the deep spiritual truths and mysteries of love. Von Balthasar definitely gives us something to think about in understanding the love of God and man's response to this divine love in Christ.

Dr Kerrie Allen is the Research Officer for the Australian Family Association.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 3 (April 2005), p. 17

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