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Christian Meditation [Paperback]

Hans Urs Von Balthasar

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Book Description

1 Jun 1993
While von Balthasar's classic Prayer is unparalleled in its development of the Trinitarian, Christological, Mariological and ecclesiological dimensions of prayer, Christian Meditation is a short, readable and eminently practical guide to that form of prayer which God's revelation in Jesus Christ has made indispensable: meditation on the word of God revealing the inner depths of God to man and since it comes from God made man the inner depths of man to himself. In a treatment that is both fresh and profound, Balthasar describes the central elements of all Christian meditation, provides a guide for making the meditation and then points the way to the union that prayer achieves in the footsteps of Mary, within the Church and in and for the world.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful 15 Mar 2004
By benjamin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the best things about this book is what it is not: it is not any type of "how-to" guide (as if God were somehow made accessible through magical-mathematical formulas). Rather, Hans Urs Von Balthasar offers extended reflections upon the possibility of Christian meditation, the experience of meditation and the meaning of union with God.
Although a short read, this is also a demanding read. Balthasar notes that Christian meditation is fundamentally relational as it takes place between two subjects - the one who meditates and God - but also takes place within the context of the larger community of subjects - the Church. Christian meditation, then, does not ever allow for any type of abandonment of the world; rather, it leads to an engagement in the world and for the world - just like Christ.
Two discussions, in particular, make this book stand out: firstly, the discussion on the silence of God is worth the price of the book alone. Balthasar writes that the silence of God is always meaningful and that our speech to and about God ultimately culminates in silence - not because it is meaningless, but because it is surpassed. Silence is not absence but is, instead, a real recognition of presence and participation.
Secondly, Balthasar's reflections on union with God take the path of reflection on Mary's reception of the Word of God, which means receiving God's Word and then allowing the Word to be brought forth. Mary becomes less an object for devotion and more a subject (like other Biblical subjects, but preeminently) to be engaged and whose story is worth reflecting deeply upon.
This book is well worth the short amount of time it takes to read, and well worth the direction and perspective it gives to the one who seeks to bear Christ and birth his Presence into the world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb and Sensible 4 Mar 2013
By Jean S. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author, a Jesuit priest and highly regarded Catholic theologian, draws on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in this discussion of Christian Meditation. In his view, God has made Himself known to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and, through the practice of meditation, we can encounter Jesus as directly today as if we walked with him in ancient Israel. While other forms of meditation might have personal peace or serenity as their goal, Christian meditation has the goal only of knowing Jesus better and giving Him permission to enter our lives, as he wishes to do. For von Balthasar, the Christian who wishes to meditate starts with the Jesus we meet in the New Testament gospels and reflects on and contemplates not only Jesus' words but also his presence, his actions, and his interactions with people. For von Balthasar, meditation does not bother to seek an experience of union with a cosmic consciousness; rather, meditation is a path to union with God as He has revealed himself to us in every way in Jesus Christ -- and that is all that we need; it is more than enough. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars What is "meditation"? 16 Jun 2013
By Terri Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Non-Christian religions get off the path that is Jesus Christ and exhorts paths through other people or means. The paths of non-Christian religions have lead them away from "authentic" mediation. Catholic theologians are always looking for succinct definitions and Hans Urs von Balthasar gives us one for "meditation". After explaining that Jesus is the "two-fold channel--of God to us and of us to God" he writes:

"Hence, basically, Christian mediation can be nothing but loving, reflective, obedient contemplation of him who is God's self-expression. He is the very explanation of God and His teaching to us." "Anyone who goes beyond this does not posess God, but anyone who remains within this teaching possesses the Father as well as the son", (Jn 2:9).

The great theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar also gives illustrative examples of contemplation through the parables. This is the best book I have found to help one come to a serious understanding of authentic meditation. That being said, it may come fields untilled before by the non-theologian, so also reading "Fire Within" by Thomas Dubay, S.M. will givd a person who desires a deep intimicacy with God, further education in prayer and meditation, so the reader of "Mediation" will comprehend its mission, and have a really good understanding of this way of prayer.
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