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Hans Urs von Balthasar 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 r Hans Urs von Balthasar 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. "Consequently, Christian meditation is entirely trinitarian and at the same time entirely human. In order to find God, no one need reject being human personally or socially, but in order to find God all must see the world and themselves in the Holy Spirit as they are in God's sight." - Hans Urs von Balthasar


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Hans Urs von Balthasar 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 r Hans Urs von Balthasar 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. "Consequently, Christian meditation is entirely trinitarian and at the same time entirely human. In order to find God, no one need reject being human personally or socially, but in order to find God all must see the world and themselves in the Holy Spirit as they are in God's sight." - Hans Urs von Balthasar

30 review for Christian Meditation

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    This thin volume, written by the late great Swiss Catholic Theologian, von Balthasar, discusses Christian Meditiation (hence, the title). By this, von Balthasar doesn't mean extended silent prayer, centering prayer, days of solitude, etc. Instead, this is Word-centered meditation, where one encounters Triune God through the pages of scripture. This book is short but difficult to read, and I am not sure I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't at least have a sense of where Balthasar is writing This thin volume, written by the late great Swiss Catholic Theologian, von Balthasar, discusses Christian Meditiation (hence, the title). By this, von Balthasar doesn't mean extended silent prayer, centering prayer, days of solitude, etc. Instead, this is Word-centered meditation, where one encounters Triune God through the pages of scripture. This book is short but difficult to read, and I am not sure I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't at least have a sense of where Balthasar is writing from. It explicates a theological and Christological reading of scripture informed by a meditative approach given to Balthasar by his early Jesuit instruction. It is therefore peppered with references to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I really liked this book and found myself reading passages slowly and going back and rereading them to make sure I got them. Others of Balthasar's shorter works, do not seem this dense to me. What I particularly appreciated was that although Balthasar's focus was on what we call 'Scriptural meditation,' he was clear that the focus was not the written word. Instead, he advocated for a meditative practice which is centered on an encounter with Christ in the text. This meant he wasn't antagonistic to other meditative practices, but he does find the spiritual exegesis and Ignatian approaches most helpful in focusing on the Christological character of the Bible. The final chapter on Union, is divided into " the Marian Way," "the Ecclesial Way" and "The Paths to the World." Certainly as a protestant I adjust some of what Balthasar has to say here, but I found it a helpful approach to looking for Christ in our personal adoration of him (the Marian way), hearing him through the liturgy with the church (ecclesial way), and being attentive to the Mission of the Triune God and where Jesus is speaking in the world (Paths to the World). Perhaps a good way to think of it is the personal, communal and missional. These are dimensions which I want my little rule to lead me into. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    "Christian Meditation" would be an excellent book for any RCIA (i.e. Roman Catholic Initiation of Adults) program or Catholic prayer book. Non-Catholic Christians would be highly distressed on its strong interest in Marian meditation. Nontrinitarian Christians would be even more distressed with the highly Trinitarian focus of von Balthasar. Von Balthasar has a very simple theology of meditation; it is required because there is an absolute truth to be found in a mystery behind the "Logos" (i.e. t "Christian Meditation" would be an excellent book for any RCIA (i.e. Roman Catholic Initiation of Adults) program or Catholic prayer book. Non-Catholic Christians would be highly distressed on its strong interest in Marian meditation. Nontrinitarian Christians would be even more distressed with the highly Trinitarian focus of von Balthasar. Von Balthasar has a very simple theology of meditation; it is required because there is an absolute truth to be found in a mystery behind the "Logos" (i.e. the word of God.) Vocal prayer is non-intended to penetrate mysteries. However with and only with the grace of the Holy Spirit we can through meditation attain these mysteries: "Christian meditation can take place only where the revealing man, God's Son Jesus Christ, reveals God as his Father: in the Holy Spirit of God. ... Consequently Christian meditation is entirely Trinitarian and at the same time entirely human." (pp. 8-9) Van Balthasar also informs that as Christians we should only meditate on events from the New Testament. Christ is obviously one object of our meditation. The other is the Virgin Mary who gave herself entirely to bearing Christ in her womb and to being his mother. "Christian Meditation" is a mere 57 pages. While it must be read with care and deliberation, it still can be read in an afternoon or evening. Any Catholic with an active prayer life will find it enjoyable and enlightening.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Magnus Itland

    To the modern reader, the name of this book is likely to mislead. It does not at all compromise with atheists or those who approach the Divine in an abstract way. As in classical Christendom, "meditation" here refers to imaginative thinking about the Gospel. It has nothing to do with the Buddhist, New Age and scientific concept of the same name, in which one seeks to free the Self from the activity of the mind. If you are a Christian who wants to bridge the gap in time and culture between the mod To the modern reader, the name of this book is likely to mislead. It does not at all compromise with atheists or those who approach the Divine in an abstract way. As in classical Christendom, "meditation" here refers to imaginative thinking about the Gospel. It has nothing to do with the Buddhist, New Age and scientific concept of the same name, in which one seeks to free the Self from the activity of the mind. If you are a Christian who wants to bridge the gap in time and culture between the modern world and the human Jesus Christ who wandered the dusty roads of ancient Galilee, you may find this book valuable, particularly if you are at home in the Catholic Church with its focus on the Mass. Other Theists may also find in it some inspiration, I believe, for their own religious practice. It reminds me somewhat of the Bhaktivedanta practices of vividly retelling the stories of their Avatar's life on Earth. I can see some potential for interfaith inspiration in that regard, but I don't encourage the simple believer to explore that option.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Lee

    I never read Balthasar before until this book today. Getting to read it feels like an accident( ?). I was only doing a bit of research for my Origen paper in the college library and Balthasar was the editor for some of Origen’s commentaries. So I dug in a bit further and discovered Balthasar is also interested in the theological aesthetics and related topics that some of my own paper projects lean towards a bit irresistibly. I allowed myself to get sidetracked by browsing his works on the shelve I never read Balthasar before until this book today. Getting to read it feels like an accident( ?). I was only doing a bit of research for my Origen paper in the college library and Balthasar was the editor for some of Origen’s commentaries. So I dug in a bit further and discovered Balthasar is also interested in the theological aesthetics and related topics that some of my own paper projects lean towards a bit irresistibly. I allowed myself to get sidetracked by browsing his works on the shelves and I picked up this wee little book from them. Then I found a place to sit and read, and also, cry. In fact, some passages in the book touched me deeply. Balthasar sees that the life of Jesus ought to be the single object of Christian contemplation. He argues that the transformation of Christian life is ultimately not the result of my looking at myself or solely of my looking at Jesus. Rather, it is due to His looking at me, for he is judge of the thoughts and dispositions of the heart. But I won’t agree with Balthasar on that he thinks Christians should only meditate on passages about Jesus from the New Testament. What a drudgery it would be if I am only left with the gospels and epistles! I didn’t get the time to finish the last section on “Union” though, so I don’t know if my impression about this book will be changed afterwards. I enjoyed it so far because it had a very distinctive voice that invited me to strive to study the Word of God through speech and silence, suffering and sympathy of Jesus, and He is nearer than my breath even when my heart does not feel it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This got better as it went along: “Jesus taught us vocal prayer, which presupposes, however, we try to penetrate the depths of his words, which he places in our mouths as the fruit of his own prayer..” Page 79 “We are to endeavour to grasp “together with all the saints, the breadth and length, the height and depth” of God’s love - something that we can never do as isolated individuals (Eph. 3:18). Then we consider what is intended not for “me” for “us”. We consider it, of course, personally but no This got better as it went along: “Jesus taught us vocal prayer, which presupposes, however, we try to penetrate the depths of his words, which he places in our mouths as the fruit of his own prayer..” Page 79 “We are to endeavour to grasp “together with all the saints, the breadth and length, the height and depth” of God’s love - something that we can never do as isolated individuals (Eph. 3:18). Then we consider what is intended not for “me” for “us”. We consider it, of course, personally but not individualistically, that is, not ultimately for me but for the entire “body” of which I am a member.” Page 79

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    Though Balthazar is still a bit over my head, I still found much of value to me here.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    This was a bit long winded, but there’s a lot here to unpack, so I’ll sum it up here for the curious reader! According to von Balthasar, Christian meditation should be understood to be “nothing but loving, reflective, obedient contemplation” of Christ (13). One does this through visualization of the parables, miracles, actions, and words—and even silences—of Christ (and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit) since all of these reveal the nature of God the Father via the actions of the Son (30 This was a bit long winded, but there’s a lot here to unpack, so I’ll sum it up here for the curious reader! According to von Balthasar, Christian meditation should be understood to be “nothing but loving, reflective, obedient contemplation” of Christ (13). One does this through visualization of the parables, miracles, actions, and words—and even silences—of Christ (and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit) since all of these reveal the nature of God the Father via the actions of the Son (30;33;55). Unlike eastern meditative practices, Christian meditation should not seek to “elevate” one “from what is physical to what is purely spiritual” since the physical world and the corporeal body are all part of the redemptive process of mankind exemplified by Christ taking human form on Earth (23-24). Von Balthasar also points out that Eastern meditative practices and Christian meditation differ in that Christian meditation is a gift from the Holy Spirit, relies on Grace and not your own efforts/experience, maintains a different goal—that of integrating Christ’s earthly life with his Being in the Godhead—relies on Christ as its center, can be a conduit to prayer, and is not only for the isolated individual, but for the communion of all Christians living and dead (26;46;55;79;80). He also emphasizes that the Eucharist as the physical manifestation of Christ and the Gospel as a deeply revealing account of the nature of God stand as the most vital aspects of Christian life and knowledge of the Trinity. In doing so, he essentially renders meditation—and this book—moot! A Christian may enter deeply into the mystery of the Triune God with our meditation, however, if one seeks to meditate on the Word, one may be “re-presented” with the Gospel vignettes via visualizations enlivened by the Holy Spirit in contemplation. However, if that meditation may lead to vocal prayer, we are to follow this lead since Christ taught us to pray vocal and meditation is not a “higher” form of prayer (79). In the final section of the third Chapter, Union, a step-by-step method of meditation is outlined as well as an emphasis on two unique aspects of Christian meditation: the desire to surrender to and not possess God, and mindfulness of the never-ending dynamic relationship of love between the Persons of the Trinity that we, through meditative prayer, may come to realize we are a part of (63;88-97).

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Miller

    "Christian Meditation" is a short primer on meditative prayer; packed with ideas and eminently readable, as are all of von Balthasar's books. He links meditation, liturgical prayer, Scripture reading, and ordinary daily life into one long chain of prayer, so that a Christian spends his entire life in God's company. "Christian Meditation" is a short primer on meditative prayer; packed with ideas and eminently readable, as are all of von Balthasar's books. He links meditation, liturgical prayer, Scripture reading, and ordinary daily life into one long chain of prayer, so that a Christian spends his entire life in God's company.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Arturo Segura Rebollo

    Von Balthasar tought me how to meditate with this book. Is not an easy reading for everyone but if you are a well studied person or if you want to have spiritual exercises it will be a helpfull reading.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Darren Tanner

  11. 5 out of 5

    steve arnold

  12. 5 out of 5

    Halden Doerge

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joel

  14. 5 out of 5

    Justin Chou

  15. 4 out of 5

    Doug

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jake Owens

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sierra

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tobias

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matt Moser

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mauricio

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gaven Mize

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Bonnette

  24. 4 out of 5

    William Hecht

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy Hendrickson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  29. 5 out of 5

    Terry Austrew

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jason Austin

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