Of the Love That Is for Nothing: In Honor of Ferdinand UlrichStefan Oster
Dear Ulrich family, dear sisters and brothers in the faith, all of you who are friends, companions, fellow pilgrims, and admirers of Ferdinand Ulrich:1
Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the greatest theologians of the last century and an intimate friend and spiritual brother of our departed, wrote a letter to Ferdinand Ulrich in 1964 thanking the young philosopher for a manuscript. In response to this work, which dealt with the theme of power, Balthasar wrote the following: “How gently and yet relentlessly you again and again pull back every veil. We will have to learn to bear with you. I have read Eckhart and Tauler and everywhere you carry forward that age in which the German spirit was born.” We will have to learn to bear with you! What a pronouncement on a young scholar from one who already at that time was among the most well-known theologians in the world. And Balthasar goes on to say, with reference to the two great mystics Meister Eckhart and Johannes Tauler, how profound the thought of the young but already intellectually mature Ferdinand Ulrich appears to him. We will have to learn to bear with you!
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1. This text was originally delivered as a homily for the funeral of Ferdinand Ulrich at St. Nikolaus Church, Mühldorf am Inn, on February 14, 2020.—Ed.