HM-8 “The World of Prayer” – A Handmaid of the Lord: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight on mystical life, prayer, relationship with the Trinity, the Cross of Christ and confession.Adrian-Walker

The World of Prayer

In prayer God enables man to approach him once more. Most people live so estranged from God that prayer’s first task must be to make them aware of their distance from God. In the light of prayer they should recognize what their life thus far has amounted to, what they owe to God the Father, Son and Spirit for which they have not thanked him. In contrition that opens the heart they ought to try to bridge the abyss which separates them from God; they are to begin their prayer by bringing to a halt the movement that estranges them from God and so turning back toward him. Prayer is first of all conversion.

von Speyr, Adrienne. The World of Prayer (Kindle Locations 116-120). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

 

Adrienne Von Speyr, Man Before God(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009), 97-98.

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“,  a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as it’s Cardinal Protector.casa-balthasar-300x224

 

 

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

HM-7 “The Church in the World” – A Handmaid of the Lord: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight on obedience to the Father’s will and the relationship with the Son.Adrian-Walker

Creation Ordered toward the Son and Hope

The entire world was created by the Father with a view to the Son; the Father who creates thus shows his love for the Son. As it comes forth fresh and new from the hand of God, the world is pure and free. However, Adam misused his freedom and alienated himself from God, and creation was dragged into this estrangement. Mankind struggles for its place between subjective alienation from God and its enduring objective meaning as created for the Son. Even after the appearance of Christ on earth, this conflict remains within man. In fact, now that the demand of God has been revealed, it becomes greater. The Word of God has issued forth; but man does not want to encounter God, because he is afraid that he would have to do what he does not want to do; namely, he would have to decide to conform himself to his original purpose. So he prefers to forego knowledge.

Of course, many evade this only from ignorance or partial knowledge. They have heard that there is a God who has spoken, who presented himself as a God of Love, but who places great demands on men. In both respects, this God opens the meaning of existence beyond finitude. Men shrink back before such a God. They long for a religion that does not call into question earthly values and proportions. Thus there arises a sort of contest between the voice of man, which grows louder and louder in order to drown out God, and the voice of God, which maintains its divine volume. The more man wants to decide for himself about his destiny, and thus also about his past and future, the more he falls prey to the limitations of life on earth, the more everything becomes smaller for him. He pushes greatness to the side as absurd. Man would prefer anything rather than to appear absurd. And if he himself has so little knowledge of God, those who come after will know even less.

And yet there are moments, whether he wants them or not, when he is placed before things beyond his ken and his competence because they seem to come from another world. He denies them, but they still suddenly make their presence known. And because things are created as ordered to the Son of God, this voice from beyond can also resound from a thing, an event, an illumination—from something that is almost nothing but is nonetheless something. It has meaning as something created for God,and precisely now it seeks to unveil this meaning. It is not about ‘‘God in all things’’ but rather ‘‘all things pointing toward God, pointing toward Christ’’, about all things as signposts. Man truly needs countless signposts in order to recognize the path, indeed, even to suspect that the path leads in this direction. And yet it is a path that determines the world. It is, however, directed against the state of the world as the active is against the passive, as life is against death, as obedience and love are against abuse and guilt. The ordering of all things to the Son is a powerful and permanent reality that cannot be denied. It can appear hard, sharp-edged, and merciless. Man must reconcile himself to its unalterability; he cannot break this boulder. It is the primary rock of earthly existence, indeed, of the creative power of God. The path of obedience was traced even before man appeared in the world. There are countless points of entry to this path.

 

Adrienne Von Speyr, Man Before God(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009), 97-98.

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

 

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“,  a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as it’s Cardinal Protector.casa-balthasar-300x224

 

 

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

HM-6 “The Church in the World” – A Handmaid of the Lord: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight on the Church and our universal call to holiness.Adrian-Walker

The Church in the World

The words of Christ appear to the world as a paradox; his commandments contradict what

people consider to be clever and useful. What these words promise is always heavenly; it comes from heaven and leads to heaven. What people do in sin and unbelief, on the contrary, leads to eternal damnation. Heaven and hell are always the ultimate alternatives, and every conversation between God and the still unconverted sinner is thus concerned with setting these two extremes into relief.

The Lord, however, did not throw his word against the unbelieving world unprotected. He founded his Church in the midst of the world. The Church has one side open toward the world. Indeed, she herself is the open door for the world, so that the world can enter into God’s Holy of Holies, where the mystery of bread and wine is celebrated. Around this mystery the Church is a way of believing and hoping and loving and working whose origin is heavenly. By entering and experiencing this mystery, man finds heaven. And God did not build his Church in such a way that she would be accessible to only a few select souls who live in the purity of faith. He built her as a communal, public place, right next to the street where everyone passes by and can enter when he wishes. Outside is the denial of everything eternal; inside is the receiving into the infinite God of everything transitory in the world. The Eucharist is the innermost event whereby the Church renews herself and makes herself known. But also every divine service, all the remaining sacraments, are encounters with the Lord who gives himself, who points toward his redemptive suffering, and who sends forth those who belong to him endowed with the Holy Spirit. They are called to proclaim the gospel outside and convert sinners. Thus the Church is always a place of encounter between the Lord and the sinner, between heavenly grace and the world. And because it is God who reveals himself in this place, this event is overwhelming and beyond all expectations.

The Church is nonetheless also a worldly reality, a gathering place for Christians that is visible also to others and that serves as a reminder to them. At Mass, in hearing the word and in praying together, Christians themselves are reminded that they are called to be a reminder in the world. They have to show what they have received; they have to bring out into the open the hidden mystery that lives within them. Continually, day after day, they must actualize in visible discipleship the once-only call that they have received from the Lord. The once-only and the multiple are reciprocally related and flow into one another. Indeed, in the man he meets, the Lord sees not only a sinner who will receive absolution, but also a brother whom he receives into his communion of life. In this way he also enabled the word that he spoke only one time on earth to be expanded into a perpetual and living validity. His word lives because Christ lives and because he does not cease to speak the once-uttered word anew and with the same precision it had then. His words appear time-bound to us because we understand them in time. Our understanding, however, is made possible through their connection to eternity.

We are struck and wounded by the word. We could not live apart from the word anymore even if we wanted to. We entered into the Church as nuts with a hard shell; the word broke open the shell. Now, without the shell, we are simultaneously more sensitive and less sensitive: more sensitive because we recognize the traces of the word everywhere and we can no longer live in naive worldliness; less sensitive because the allure of sin does not grab us as much anymore. It is not that it has become weaker, but that it holds less interest for us and God’s defense against sin penetrates all the way through us. At every encounter, God also gives us something to remember him, a gift, never something dead, but his living word.

We hear this word in the Church; we find it in undiminished vitality also at home whenever we open the Scriptures or when we return to the word in prayer. Prayer becomes an encounter with the Lord whose word we are permitted to hear without ceasing. We are personally addressed, and we are allowed to respond personally, and in this twofold personal contact, the word works on man until the true ecclesial man takes shape. With every new encounter, God continues to do his redemptive work on that which the Creator declared good at the beginning and for which the Son offered himself on the Cross, not only until we are brought to completion in ourselves, but until we become useful instruments in God’s hands for his work throughout the entire world. God’s workshop is his Church.

In the Church, as experienced by priests or laymen, there is much that is unchangeable, and this occasionally goes against our spirit of modernization. If we attempt to see and understand with the eyes of love, then we discover that what is unchangeable in the Church comes from the word and its being beyond time. We come to see that, if the distance between the word and us has grown so great, then it is our fault. The word’s ultimate meaning remains veiled for us because of our sins and our lethargy. Only seldom are we able to see what is eternally valid in the word. Of course, a perfect hearing and understanding of the word could almost be compared to the beatific vision. Total understanding, as the fulfillment (to the extent possible) of our reason by the meaning of the word, is reserved for eternity. Nevertheless, when we encounter God and fix our eyes on the eternal, we understand from the triune God and the mystery of the Church all that is necessary for us to remain in a living faith and to embody in our lives what we have received from the encounter. We are given what is necessary in order to concentrate in our Yes to the vitality of today’s Church not only what we need, but also what is needed by our contemporaries for an encounter with God.

Adrienne Von Speyr, Man Before God(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009), 97-98.

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

 

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“,  a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as it’s Cardinal Protector.casa-balthasar-300x224

 

 

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

HM-5 “Confession” – A Handmaid of the Lord: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker

AdrianEpisode 5 – “Confession” – A Handmaid of the Lord: The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight into the nature of confession as described in her book of the same name.

An excerpt from “Confession” Chapter 1: Introduction – The Search for Confession

Let us assume you are my friend, and I say to you, “I can’t go on like this.” We discuss the situation together; perhaps we discover where I got off the track, and perhaps we even refer to my childhood. What we find will help me to make a new start. In every discussion of this sort, however, the individual is viewed as an isolated person, and it does not become clear that he lives in a community both of saints and sinners. Only God knows the laws both of the community of saints and of the community of sinners. In confession I am, of course, this individual sinner, but I am simultaneously a part of humanity, one of its fallen members. Thus conceptual factors are completely different in confession than in analysis. They are both personal and social; indeed, they comprise a totality that draws into focus the world as a whole, its relationship to God, and the first and last things, even if this larger context only falls into our field of vision momentarily and is experienced only indirectly. And since the situation is different, so also are the means of healing. The truth of God is involved, not the truth of the human being, nor the truth of his soul, his existence or the structure of his deeper being, but decisively the truth of God. None of the human techniques takes this divine truth seriously; at most they save it for the hour of death, and they do not help a man to become the kind of person he will need to be in that hour.

As long as aid for the human being is offered by other human beings and is mobile within the human sphere, it can operate only with human means. Everything approaching a person from external sources can be considered only as accidental and external and be supplied with a positive or negative label; the unity between interior and exterior, however, cannot be effected. The psychological session can offer me only “modes of behavior” applicable to the present, which themselves can and must change under altered conditions. Confession, on the other hand, brings a person face to face with his divine destiny and places him directly within it—within that which is final and ultimate.

As long as a person is not confessing, he feels free to speak or keep silent about whatever he wishes. What he then hates in confession is not the humbling experience of revealing himself, and not the fact that he is a sinner—he already knows that somehow—but the necessity of capitulating before and within total confession, the fact that the freedom of selection has been withdrawn and that the only choice remaining is to reveal everything or nothing. He is sick as a whole person and must be healed as such, and not eclectically. That is the first humbling experience. The second is that he is only one of many and has to accept the same conditions as do the others, even external conditions such as having to appear at the confessional at an appointed hour: a kind of marked condition, the elimination of all external differentiation—the factory owner and the watchman, the lady and her cook, all on equal footing. Precisely when one confesses that which is most intimate, one no longer has a choice or selection, is put on a level with all other sinners and is merely one penitent in the line of other sinners. The peculiarities of my particular “case”, which made it seem so interesting to me and which I would so gladly have explained to the listener, do not matter at all any more. Confession [Beichten] is above all precisely that: a confession [Bekenntnis] not only of my sins but also a confession to God and to God’s precepts and institutions, indeed to his Church with her own weakness and her myriad ambiguous, even disturbing, aspects.

The act of “speaking” with someone about my life does not oblige me further. Afterward, I can experience a certain feeling of gratitude or of awkwardness toward the person who has listened to me, but I remain the free person who can detach himself again. Confession is not an individual act in the same sense; nothing in it can be isolated. The act of confession expressly involves the whole person, his whole life, his whole world-view, his whole relationship to God.

Speyr, Adrienne von. Confession (Kindle Locations 180-209). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

 

For more episodes in this series visit Dr. Adrian Walker’s Discerning Hearts page

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“, a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa, was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.

Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

 

HM-4 “A Handmaid of the Lord”: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker Podcast

Adrian-WalkerEpisode 4 – “A Handmaid of the Lord – Mary/Joseph, Mary/John” – “A Handmaid of the Lord”: The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight on the Mother of God as described in her book “A Handmaid of the Lord”. In part two of our conversation on the work, Dr. Walker reflects on the meaning of the “Mary and Joseph”and “Mary and John” relationships.  We explore Adrienne’s meditations and how she presents vocation and the “religious state” through the lens of Mary.

Mary and Joseph’s life together was wholly bound to the earthly way of life—the form human existence has had ever since man was driven out of Paradise. Their life was mutual service in housekeeping, breadwinning and everything involved in the toilsome and harsh scraping out of a life. But even this common labor had its focus in the divine Child, who threw open everything earthly and drew it into the eddy of his mission. Out of this breaking open there arose much later the new form of community between Mary and John, in which everything previous is translated into the supernatural and the spiritual. Now the whole fruitfulness of the community lies in the spirit; the fruit is therefore no longer visible and measurable. The material element certainly continues to exist in some way even in this community, but so secondarily that it is now only a prerequisite of the new community, not an essential component. Thus John, in his care for the Mother, is not to be regarded as Joseph’s successor. Mary has, of course, remained the same; she walks a straight path along which her assent develops. But community with John does not mean for her the continuation of the same task. The first time her assent had been used to fulfill a call to marriage; the second time it is shaped to the fulfillment of a call to the “religious life”.

von Speyr, Adrienne (2012-03-09). Handmaid of the Lord (Kindle Locations 1706-1730). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

For more episodes in this series visit Dr. Adrian Walker’s Discerning Hearts page

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth,” as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar,” a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

HM-2 “A Handmaid of the Lord”: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Adrian-WalkerEpisode 2 – “A Brief Overview of Adrienne’s Life” – “A Handmaid of the Lord”: The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we discuss various aspects of Adrienne’s life.  What was her childhood like?  What were the relationship dynamics within her family?  We discuss her marriages and professional career.  Dr. Walker delves into her conversion to the Catholic faith and her mystical experiences.

…indifference impregnated with Johannine theology. The theory of mysticism which Adrienne formulated culminates in the one statement: Mysticism is a particular mission, a particular service to the Church which can only be properly carried out in a continual and complete movement away from oneself, in self-forgetfulness (she loved the word éffacement) and virginal readiness for the Word of God. Personal states as such are of no interest and ought not to be reflected upon, all psychologizing introspection becomes without fail a deviation from the main concern—God’s Word—and therefore a distortion of one’s mission. This basic law is also, according to Adrienne, the principal guideline for spiritual directors.

By this time, Adrienne had been interpreting books of Holy Scripture for about a decade: after the Johannine writings, some of Paul, the Catholic Epistles, the Apocalypse, books or parts of books from the Old Testament. In later years one could give her at random any text of Scripture with the request that she interpret it immediately; she would close her eyes for a few seconds, and then in her quiet, objective tone of voice she would begin to speak in sentences that were almost ready for publishing. She usually dictated in the afternoon after she had returned from her two-o’clock office hours and had had a cup of tea. She seldom dictated for more than half an hour per day. During vacations, she would occasionally dictate for two or three hours, but this was rare. More will be said later about one exception, regarding the commentary on the Apocalypse.

Balthasar, Hans Urs von (2012-08-21). First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr (Kindle Locations 345-356). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

 

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

 

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“, a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa, was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

HM-1 “A Handmaid of the Lord”: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker – Discerning Hearts Podcast

 

Episode 1 –  “Introduction – A Meeting With von Balthasar” –  “A Handmaid of the Lord”:  The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

Adrian-Walker

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we begin our conversation on the life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr.  To lay the groundwork for our discussion, we begin by exploring the influence of  one of the most significant figures in Adrienne’s life:  Hans-Urs-von-BlathasarHans Urs von Balthasar.  Balthasar (12 August 1905 – 26 June 1988) was a Swiss theologian and Catholic priest who was to be created a cardinal of the Catholic Church by St. John Paul II but died before the ceremony. He is considered one of the most important Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century.

 

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

 

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“,  a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa,  was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.casa-balthasar-300x224

 

 

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

HM-3 “A Handmaid of the Lord”: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker

Episode 3 – “A Handmaid of the Lord – The Assent” – “A Handmaid of the Lord”: The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight on the Mother of God as described in her book “A Handmaid of the Lord.” In part one of our conversation on the work, Dr. Walker reflects on the meaning of “The Assent.”   We also explore  “The Finding in the Temple” and “The Rejection”  as events described by Adrienne in the book that helps deepen our appreciation and understanding of the mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As a sheaf of grain is tied together in the middle and spreads out at either end, so Mary’s life is bound together by her assent. From this assent her life receives its meaning and form and unfolds toward past and future. This single, all-encompassing act accompanies her at every moment of her existence, illuminates every turning point of her life, bestows upon every situation its own particular meaning and in all situations gives Mary herself the grace of renewed understanding. Her assent gives full meaning to every breath, every movement, every prayer of the Mother of God. This is the nature of an assent: it binds the one who gives it, yet it allows him complete freedom in shaping its expression. He fills his assent with his personality, giving it its weight and unique coloring. But he himself is also molded, liberated and fulfilled by his assent. All freedom develops through surrender and through renunciation of liberty. And from this freedom within commitment there arises every sort of fruitfulness.

von Speyr, Adrienne (2012-03-09). Handmaid of the Lord (Kindle Locations 26-33). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth,” as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar,” a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

IP#42 Fr Joseph Fessio S.J. – Adrienne von Speyr’s Book of All Saints on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

 Adrienne von Speyr (1902 – 1967) was a Swiss medical doctor, convert to Catholicism, a mystic, wife and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She collaborated closely with Hans Urs Von Balthasar, her confessor for 27 years, and together co-founded the Community of Saint John. Her numerous writings, published by Ignatius Press, are being recognized by leading theologians as a major contribution to the mystical and spiritual writings of the Church.

 

The Book of All Saints page

FOREWORD

A convert from Protestantism, Adrienne von Speyr entered the Catholic Church on the Feast of All Saints, 1940. During the next twenty-seven years, Hans Urs von Balthasar, as Adrienne’s confessor and spiritual director, carefully observed her interior life and was convinced that she was gifted with a special mission in the life of the Church—to revitalize personal, as well as communal, faith and prayer.

Working in close collaboration with von Balthasar, Adrienne received these intimate portraits of men and women, both inside and outside the Church, in conversation with God. Through a unique charism, she was able to put herself in the place of various individuals to see and describe their prayer, their whole attitude before God. Not all of her subjects are saints in the strict sense of the word, but all struggled, with varying degrees of success to place their lives at the disposal of their Creator.

“The Book of All Saints is a wonderful gift to the Church because it shows how the saints pray and because it invites us—by contagion, as it were—to pray ourselves.”  – Vivian Dudro

 

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