Hans Urs von Balthasar is, hands down, my favorite contemporary theologian. Today I’d just like to give a quote, from his Theo-Logic I, Truth of the World (177). I’m sorry its all one paragraph if its hard on the eyes, but I didn’t know where to break it up.
Wherever freedom is in play, responsibility comes into play as well. Faith in accepting truth is the correlative of responsibility in pronouncing it. The transcendence of the movement of truth reaches its logical conclusion in this responsibility. The more the subject pledges itself on behalf of a truth it proclaims, the less satisfactory is its mere protestation that things really are as it claims or that its statement is worthy of belief. Increasingly, then, the statement itself must be put to the test through an intensified commitment. Now, this commitment can consist only in a deed. The subject will prove by its life, its action, and, if necessary, its suffering that its whole being stands behind what it says. It throws its whole self into the balance. And it is precisely this gesture that brings its utterance to completion. Initially, it pronounced its truth as one enunciates a theoretically correct proposition. But, in doing so, it shouldered a responsibility that compelled it to go farther than it had foreseen and to make ever new, ever weightier statements. In the end, it is forced to utters its whole existence, its inmost essence, in deeds. The subject’s life thus becomes the proof of its assertion. Life shows what weight its truth actually had. And in fact the truth othat is pronounced comes to the perfection of truth only through this testimony of life. In this way, a lover can profess his love; but whether his oath is not believed or whether he himself feels compelled to demonstrate its truth, he will, as time goes on, adduce his whole life and all his actions as evidence of his assertion and so, if his first declaration was really true, direct his life according to the norm of truth. Love, therefore, shows itself more in works than in words: because works are the gravity of its words. Without proof through the deed, not only would love’s word be not fully credible, but the lover himself would not really have exhibited or uttered his love. He would not have had the chance to unveil his own hidden mystery and to make visible its power, depth, and fullness.
There are many things I get out of this paragraph. I will leave the reader to his own meditations.