In this final volume, Balthasar focuses on the purpose of man as created by God. He begins with these words: “Man is ‘created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of this to save [his] soul.’ Constant repetition has made this line from the IgnatianSpiritual Exercises seem like a trite platitude. What could we possibly say about these words that has not already been said before? Of course, scarcely anyone still remembers, or is even willing to acknowledge, this Ignatian insight, though Ignatius himself understood it as the ‘principle and foundation’ of all human and Christian truth, or at least as a summary of the ABC’s for people wanting an introduction to Christianity. A bird’s eye view of the history of Christian theology reveals an astonishing truth: The seemingly banal gateway to theSpiritual Exercises turns out to be anything but traditional, at least if it is the great tradition of European thinking that we have in mind.”
Divided into two parts, PRAISE, REVERENCE, AND SERVICE and BEFORE GOD’S FACE-IN GOD’S HEART, some of the many topics Balthasar covers in this volume include:
The Serenity of the Surrendered Self, On the Christian’s Capacity to See, Health between Science and Wisdom, The Person, Sexuality, and Death, The Dignity of Women, Mary and the Holy Spirit, The Eternal Child, How God Forgives, Introspection and Self-transcendence, God among Us, Peace in Theology, The “Beatitudes” and Human Rights, Finding God in All Things, and more.
As Balthasar expresses it in the conclusion to his preface: here "we discern the unity of 'glory' and the 'dramatic'. God's glory, as it appears in the world--supremely in Christ--is not something static that could be observed by a neutral investigator. It manifests itself only through the personal involvement whereby God himself comes forth to do battle and is both victor and vanquished. If this glory is to come within our range at all, an analogous initiative is called for on our part. Revelation is a battlefield. Those who do battle on it can only be believers and theologians, provided they have equipped themselves with the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11)."