10 July 2009

Adrienne von Speyr

Yesterday was a very special day for me. Irma More' the foundress of Our Lady of Walsingham Institutes of Catholic Church in Houston, Texas came to visit. She is one of the most inspiring people I know in the Catholic Church in the USA. What a great kindness to come and see me when I cannot travel very well.

In the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston it is likely that very few people are familiar with Adrienne von Speyr, but Mrs. More' and I have a great love for her writing and insights. There is one book of hers that I have never read Kreuzeswort und Sacrament that is The Cross: Word and Sacrament available from Ignatius Press, and it is a favourite of my friend Mrs. More'. She gave me the gift of a copy that I shall treasure.

It is not very long but it is very profound, and as it is with von Speyr's other books (as indeed with her spiritual father Hans U. von Balthasar) it bears reading several times over or perhaps the same portion read several times to let it fully grace one's contemplation of the various subjects as it
relates the Seven Last Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross to the Seven Sacraments of the Church.

When someone looks at the Cross in a contrite spirit before making his confession -- in spite of the loathing which afflicts him on account of his sins, in spite of the anxiety about not being able to recognise and recall everything -- he knows that he can be sure of the Lord's help, he knows that the Son immediately makes this help available in the presence of his Father by interposing himself, his sufferings, for the sake of the penitent. He steps in with the whole weight of his Passion so that the penitent can be encouraged to tread the path of the sacrament full of confidence, and can also dare to look up to the Cross, which has for him absolute value. But in this word there is even more: an invitation from the Son to all sinners to participate in his Cross. He opens up this way to them by commending them to the Father. Full knowledge now resides in the Cross; not that sinners ever "forfeited" this knowledge they never had it. And the Father will forgive because he fulfills the Son's requests, because his greatest concern is the perfect fulfillment of the Son's mission.

-- Adrienne von Speyr
"Penance", pp. 19-20
The Cross: Word and Sacrament

So I should like to commend this little book to everyone, a short but profound book relating the Seven Last Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Seven Sacraments of the Church. I can think of none better in so few words.

Laus Deo.+