Adrienne von Speyr - Markus. Betrachtungspunkte für eine Gemeinschaft

Markus. Betrachtungspunkte für eine Gemeinschaft Mark. Meditations on the Gospel of Mark

These points for meditation on the Gospel of Mark were given by Adrienne von Speyr between October 11, 1945, and March 7, 1948, to the members of the Community of Saint John, which she founded; the editor [Hans Urs von Balthasar] gave only the first points, as an introduction to the rest, but was not present when the rest of the points were dictated and taken down in shorthand in the community. The text was gathered up to form the book; material directly concerned with persons or situations within the community was left out. Nevertheless, the general situation is thoroughly retained: The meditations are addressed to young people who have made a decision for the state of the evangelical counsels in a worldly profession, for a secular institute that was coming into being. This does not keep these contemplative explications of the texts, which are concerned with meditation on Holy Scripture, from having much to offer to everyone. As always, Adrienne von Speyr speaks here from the fullness of her own contemplation, which continually has the unified nature of Christian, dogmatic truth as its object; without the trappings of exegesis or any other form of scholarly ambition, she hands on the gift that was given to her. Because she is addressing young women who are novices, her train of thought is simple and practical. The indications that Adrienne von Speyr gives in this work are characteristic of her spirituality. If in other works she goes into more detail and depth, the reader who makes his way through the whole of this book will nonetheless find in it something like a synthesis of her spirit.

From the Foreword by Hans Urs von Balthasar

Foreword by Hans Urs von Balthasar
I. Preparation for Jesus’ Public Ministry
II. Jesus’ Public Ministry in Galilee
III. Jesus’ Journeying Outside of Galilee
IV. Jesus’ Activity in Jerusalem
V. Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection

Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (10:14b-15)

We will contemplate: 1. how the Lord wants to receive the children, 2. how the kingdom of God belongs to them, 3. the condition for acceptance into the Kingdom.

1. “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them.” The Lord knows that his influence will actually be greatest in children, children who are without complications, who thirst for love, feel his love, surrender themselves to it, and take it with them into their lives as a matter of course. In doing so, they allow everything else, Christian faith and Christian hope, to grow in them along with this love as a unity, of which they as children obviously do not have a comprehensive vision. They only feel that the Lord loves them, and he really does. In order to remain in this love, which is precious to them because it corresponds to their yearning, they do, or at least try to do, what love demands. In this respect, they are very different from adults, who oftentimes have so distanced themselves from love through sin that the reception of love becomes a problem for them. They shy away from surrender, shy away from understanding that the Lord loves them and asks, as the only response to his love, their love. With children, everything is simple. Children want to be loved. They are astonished when people do not love them. If they have behaved badly, they do what they can to come back into love. Sin and disobedience, as that which brought them out of the order of love, are painful to them. They yearn for love. When they are allowed to go to the Lord and are not hindered, they find themselves back in love and remain in it. And when the Lord so simply invites children, he means by them all those who want to be like children, who have a genuinely childlike yearning for his love. It would be a sin to block the path of such childlike persons to the Lord.

2. “For to such belongs the kingdom of God.” So the kingdom is for children, the uncomplicated, the naïve, the ones who love. The kingdom is not there as a problem for over-cultivated souls, for excessively intellectual questioners. It is, very simply, for loving children. And the kingdom is the answer to the children’s yearning. The Lord himself, with his love and his desire to see the children come to him, builds this kingdom; he incarnates the triune God, to whom the kingdom belongs. This is very easy to understand: when we love the Lord, we automatically love everything he loves, for we know: His love is so great that it embraces everything worthy of love. The Son loves the Father and the Spirit, and he loves the eternal life of the Father and the Spirit. Even in the world, he lives in the midst of this eternity of the kingdom of God. He brings it to us. When he allows the children to come to him, this means that he opens for them the entrance to the kingdom of God. He is the Way. He opens this entrance with his love, with his invitation, with his being God and man together. And the kingdom of God belongs to those who love. It belongs most genuinely to children, because they are simple in their yearning for love. They yearn for a love that can never be big enough and that therefore must be the love of the kingdom, because this love might just be big enough to satisfy this yearning of children for love.

3. “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” A child, a real child, accepts what is offered to him as it is offered to him, whether he has a full view of what is given or not. Without first choosing, he takes the whole gift, even if there is something questionable in it. For the present, that does not interest the child at all. And whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a child will not enter it. For a child does not hesitate in accepting. When we, as adults and as sinners, hesitate, we become so filled with our own complications that we cannot be let in. We waste time with our “I” and its questionability, which hinder us from finding the entrance. For the entrance lies so entirely in God that we can find it only when we look no longer at ourselves but simply at God.

From “Jesus’ Journeying Outside of Galilee”