“When Christ came into our midst to redeem us,he descended so far that after that no one would be able to fall without falling into him.” (von Balthasar)
A fascinating way of looking at holiness, and not necessarily an easy one:
Holiness consists in enduring God’s glance. It may appear mere passivity to withstand the look of an eye; but everyone knows how much exertion is required when this occurs in an essential encounter. Our glances mostly brush by each other indirectly, or they turn quickly away, or they give themselves not personally but only socially. So too do we constantly flee form God into a distance that is theoretical, rhetorical, sentimental, aesthetic, or most frequently, pious. Or we flee from him to external works. And yet, the best thing would be to surrender one’s naked heart to the fire of this all–penetrating glance. The heart would then itself have to catch fire, if it were not always artificially dispersing the rays that come to it as through a magnifying glass. Such enduring would be the opposite of a Stoic’s hardening his face: it would be yielding, declaring oneself beaten, capitulating, entrusting oneself, casting oneself into him. It would be childlike loving, since for children the glance of the father is not painful: with wide-open eyes they look into his. Little Thérèse–great little Thérèse–could do it. Augustine’s formula on the essence of eternity: videntem videre–‘to look at him who is looking at you.’ (Hans Urs Von Balthasar, The Grain of Wheat)
“Purgatory: perhaps the deepest but also the most blissful kind of suffering. The terrible torture of having to settle now all the things we have dreaded a whole life long. The doors we have frantically held shut are now torn open. But all the while this knowledge: now for the first time I will be able to do it–that ultimate thing in me, that total thing. Now I can feel my wings growing; now I am fully becoming myself.” (Hans Urs von Balthasar)
May all the souls of our beloved dead quickly come to the place of becoming fully themselves in God . . .
Sometimes one sentence can say it all. From Hans urs Von Balthasar:
What is uniquely Christian begins and ends with the revelation that the infinite God loves the individual man infinitely.
Speaking of one sentences, I came across this attempt by a protestant woman to summarize each of the books of the Bible in one sentence, actually by one verse from the book (a little more challenging to do). If you’re interested, you can peruse her attempt here.