Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988), a prolific Catholic theologian from Switzerland, has been called a "new Father of the Church". His work—shaped not only by traditional theology and philosophy, but by literature, art, and music—made an impact on both Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Aidan Nichols, O.P., describes Balthasar's fifteen-volume masterwork, the Trilogy, as "perhaps the high-point of twentieth-century Catholic theology".
Yet for all Balthasar's brilliance, the core of his theology is extraordinarily simple: love—for God is love. Love lies at the center of life, indeed, at the center of being itself. For Balthasar, the answers to all of man's big, existential questions revolve around love.
The Meaning of the World Is Love, compiled by psychologist Richard Clements, brings Balthasar's meditations to a wider audience, using brief excerpts from the theologian to walk readers through the landscape of divine love, which is our home. The path of love is the path of self-gift—as well as of truth, goodness, and beauty—and it is the only way to genuine fulfillment. Balthasar, as Clements shows, can point us to the very heart of reality: God, who gives himself to us without reserve.
"Romantics swoon at the mention of love, but the Christian mystics know its price. Balthasar searched out the Trinitarian source of such costing love, traced its distributaries in Christian living, and ended by finding in it another name for the mystery of being itself. Richard Cements' commentary deftly guides us, with great discretion, to read Balthasar's work in a way that joins up the parts and lets us gain a view of the whole."
— Aidan Nichols, O.P., Author, Balthasar for Thomists and Rome and the Eastern Churches
"We are indebted to Richard Clements for providing this entry point into Balthasar's profound theology of love. A virtual treasure trove of theological and spiritual insights is found here, from which all may draw enrichment for both meditation and study."
— Margaret Turek, S.T.D., Professor, St. Patrick's Seminary and University; Author, Atonement: Soundings in Biblical, Trinitarian, and Spiritual Theology
"A lucid, compelling answer to the seminal question 'Why is there something rather than nothing' through the lens of Balthasar's theology of love. We are compelled to ask why an Absolute would create mere finite shadows of itself. The evident answer is that the Absolute is perfect self-giving love. This book is an excellent practical entryway into Christian philosophical theology."
— Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., President, Magis Center of Reason and Faith; Author, God So Loved the World
"Love not only moves the world but gives it its form—and thereby gives shape to all cultural institutions. Balthasar teaches this with unmatched depth and breadth. Clements performs for us the profound service of gathering and integrating an abundance of the great theologian's texts. An extraordinarily rich and helpful book!"
— David L. Schindler, Editor, Communio: International Catholic Review (U.S. Edition)
"An absolute breath of fresh air and a bracing reminder of the true genius of Balthasar as both a theologian and a master of the spiritual life. The topics are varied and yet deeply united, since Clements deftly arranges them in order to draw out Balthasar's deep Trinitarian underpinnings. And the commentaries by Clements are insightful and often illuminating in surprising ways. This work is a delight to read and will lift your soul to God."
— Larry Chapp, Retired Professor of Theology, DeSales University