Thursday, September 20, 2012

Only When the Innermost Heart of Man is Opened...

Hans Urs von Balthasar on chastity, from the book Elucidations:

Christian sexual ethics is best advised to keep to the quite simple outline of the New Testament. For this is as unchangeable as the nature of divine love which is become flesh in Christ. This is unalterable because a “greater love” than the one shown to men in Christ is not conceivable, not in any phase of our evolving world. So long as the Christian’s heart and mind are spellbound by this humble and totally selfless love, he has in his possession the best possible compass for finding his way in the fog of sexual matters. With the image of this love before him he will not be able to maintain that the ideal of self-giving—of true self-giving, not of throwing oneself in front of people—is unrealistic in our world and impracticable. It demands a very great deal: namely, to subordinate everything to the love which does not seek its own; but it gives a great deal more: namely, the only true happiness. One can use sex, like drugs and alcohol, to maneuver oneself into a state of excited, illusory happiness, but one is merely transporting oneself into momentary states which do not alter one’s nature or one’s heart. The states fade and disappear, and the heart finds itself emptier and more loveless than before. It is only when the innermost heart of man is opened that the sun of love can penetrate into it. “Fili, praebe mihi cor tuum, Son, give me your heart” (Prov 23:26).