Fall 2011

Introduction: Ecclesiam Apostolicam

Simeon Leiva-Merikakis, in “‘Are You Afraid of the Thief?’ A Cordial Approach to Lectio Divina,” introduces and exemplifies the practice of lectio divina through a meditation on Mark 3:13-15, the passage in Mark’s Gospel that describes the formal calling of the Twelve. The essay begins and ends with a reflection on St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who shows us that the content and goal of a contemplative reading of the Scriptures is an encounter with the living Christ Jesus who communicates the mysteries of his life and gradually transforms us into his very image.

John Behr, in “The Spirit and the Bride Say ‘Come’: The Eschatological Dimensions of the Liturgy,” weaves together the letters of Paul, the disciples’ encounter with the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13–33), and an early Christian text by Melito of Sardis to shed light on the eschatological dimension of the liturgy. The liturgy is nothing less than the intersection of time and eternity—a transitus or passage that simultaneously brings us into the eternal Kingdom of God and incarnates the presence of God in the body of Christ, the temple of the Spirit.

Retrieving the Tradition returns to the theme of ecclesiam apostolicam with Hans Urs von Balthasar’s introductory essay, “Madeleine Delbrêl: The Joy of Believing.” Balthasar suggests that the innermost secret of Delbrêl’s missionary existence is unceasing prayer and a heart that never turned its gaze from God. “God is for her the miracle that is new every day, that she experiences as an incomprehensible gift, bequest, surrender, that she can only answer with the indivisible, twofold surrender of herself: to God in prayer, and to her fellow men inside or outside the Church.” Balthasar’s essay is complemented by a selection of texts from Madeleine Delbrêl’s posthumous La joie de croire (1968): “The Promises of Christ to the Extremities of the Earth.”

Finally, Reinhold Schneider in “Pope Gregory the Great,” reflects on the grace of apostolic office and the renunciation required to bear witness to an eternal gift unfolding in time. “Like the apostle, Gregory knew that the end of all things was very near, but through the storm, through the crashing down of the last pillars of the old world, he perceived the one, quiet, unalterable command: to baptize and teach all peoples; to bind and to loose; to bear responsibility for the sheepfold unto eternity; to build up Jerusalem among the rain of earthly arrows.”                                           □