The Swiss Jesuit, Hans Urs von Balthasar is considered by many to be one of the most important theologians of the 20th century. It’s not surprising then that the book by Fr. Ray Gawronski, SJ exploring the thoughts and ideas of Fr. Von Balthasar is now in its third edition from Angelico Press. First printed in 1995 and now released in a 2015 edition, Fr. Gawronski’s book, Word and Silence: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter of East and West, dives into Von Balthasar’s ideal that selflessness is not a matter of emptiness, but of pure love through receptivity to others. Fr. Gawronski describes Von Balthasar’s work as a “message in a bottle” sent from the sinking ship of European Christian civilization.
Asked about the dialogue between Asian and Christian mysticisms, Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote, "The dialogue is possible. The question is: 'does selflessness mean emptiness, or (trinitarian) love.'" Word and Silence is an ascent to the fullness of the Christian vision, from the depths of natural and Christian wisdom and under the guidance of this great master of contemplative theology. It offers an overview of the human condition, and then broadens to explore the fullness of God's revelation, which overflows the deepest longings of the human heart, fully embracing the human as human, and leading it into the heart of God.
The works and wisdoms of Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar are as meaningful and important today as they were throughout his mission. Perhaps this third edition of Word and Silence won’t be the last.