Spring 1969

Page 81



theology, and of their balanced formation of his teaching on the spiritual life, we might conclude with an opinion about the peculiar utility of Rahner's views for serious Christian living today. I find them unparallel help in investigating the meaning of the gospel for a very complex time of transition. Pet¡haps the most satisfying characteristic of Rahner's theology is its balance. Passion and calm, simplicity and complexity, tradition and present needs, mystery and very particular concern all get their due. The overall impression is of a very vital personality setting all its resources in the service of mediating the gospel to men: for him the gospel is Christ's unique good news of salvation-the single absolute criterion of what is real and good, and men are variable spirits in the world, whose essential need for the absolute God is always expressed in changing, historical modes. It is at the exact juncture of time and eternity, gift and reception that the Christian, who lives by the Incarnation, participates in a theandric dialogue he should publish to all men. Rahner seems to see his priesthood and theology as one absorbing effort to foster this dialogue, whose importance is the measure of man's meaning. It is likely that Rahner will be read and praised by most

people because he does bring this sophisticated, balanced attitude to bear on the live problems of current Christian theory and practice. The application of creative, profound theology to real concerns of flesh and blood is a combination hard to beat. By comparison with the rest of contemporary theology, however, another characteristic strikes me as distinctive of Rahner, and perhaps instn>ctive for toclay's Christian. It very much amounts to the substance of Rahner's spiritual theology, and perhaps the reason why what he writes can so often be placed in this category. Far too seldom today does one find indications of a profound religious experience, which tutored intelligence sets at the heart of theology. Beneath the legitimate concem for empiri-