Models of the Church

Over at The Catholic Weekly, I write:

Part of my nefarious purpose in doing a series on the Senses of Scripture was to prime the pump for a new discussion on what are called “Models of the Church”.

The great theologian Han Urs von Balthasar did what countless Catholics have done down the ages and read Scripture allegorically to mine it for insights into the nature of the Church.

The Allegorical Sense of Scripture, you will recall, takes various images from Scripture and seeks the spiritual rather than the literal sense of them. So Jesus took the image of the manna in the wilderness and made it an image of himself, fully present in the Eucharist: the Bread of Life (John 6).

He took the image of the Bronze Serpent in the wilderness and said it was an image of himself, lifted up on the cross (John 3:14). He took the image of the Passover and the passage of Israel out of bondage in Egypt and made it the reality of the Eucharist, which liberates us from death to life.

Von Balthasar does something similar as he plays around with four biblical characters—the Blessed Virgin, Peter, John the Apostle, and Paul—and sees in them four different ways in which the Church does its thing.

Much more here. And stay tuned for the series.

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