“The Heart of the World” – Hans Urs von Balthasar’s writing set as a poem

“Ecce Homo,” Jusepe de Ribera

He regarded them with his Father’s eyes.

He must first fashion eyes for them;
he must implant in them nonexistent ears;
he must give an unknown sense of touch.
That they may feel God; and hear; and see.

He will have to take their dead, dull senses upon himself.

In death, his Heart will have to dissolve and–
now as a wholly ruined Heart, a shapeless sea–
he will give himself to them as their drink.
He himself. Providing love and the return of love.

And how careful he will have to be!

It is a Heart like ours, a human Heart,
which itself thirsts for a return of love.
A human human heart is not, like God, almighty.
What will it do if we do not want to love?

Foolish did God’s love become.

It seemed to struggle in the darkness.
Overcome.
But no enemy is mightier, no night more full,
than the radiant darkness of love.

Original text from “The Broken Sun” in Heart of the World by Hans Urs von Balthasar
Translated by Erasmo S. Leiva
(c) Ignatius Press, 1979 (1954)

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One thought on ““The Heart of the World” – Hans Urs von Balthasar’s writing set as a poem

  1. Thanks for this, Anne. It helps to see theology in a different context. I recently put together a retreat and used the writings of K. Rahner, F. O’Connor, and J. Alison as prayers (call and response, mainly).

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