Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Pauline Tradition and the Surprise of New Charisms

Balthasar is an inherently pluralistic or symphonic theologian. Thus, the Pauline tradition is complemented by the Petrine, the Johannine and the Marian traditions (352-365). Balthasar's reading in these sections is profoundly both scriptural and ecclesial.

What's fascinating about the Pauline tradition is that it includes the surprise of new charisms, something that makes the Church ever more pluralistic as she abides in history. In this section, Balthasar explicitly includes Augustine and Newman as examples of new charisms. Elsewhere he discusses Antony of Egypt, Benedict, Francis, and Ignatius - all founders of ecclesial communities with monastic/ missionary tasks.

A "charism" as Balthasar discusses it here (also in the documents of the Catholic Church) could be described as a personal prophetic charism that opens up new avenues to the heart of revelation: Jesus Christ. It has also been observed that the Holy Spirit bestows these charisms according to particular circumstances and times in history.

And what was Paul's gift? "Jesus is the Torah in person; I have the whole of it when I have Jesus. This substitution of the name Jesus for the word Torah is Paul's 'Gospel'; it is the content of his doctrine of justification" (Ratzinger, Gospel, Catechesis, Catechism, 54).

Cross-posted from the comments at La Perruque
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