At a little café, just in front of the Pantheon, I sat down recently with Dr. Scott Hahn, the great biblical theologian. What an intellectual whirlwind he is. Among other topics, we talked about the nature-grace relationship, the importance of the analogy of being, the link between analogy and covenant, creation as a primordial covenant between God and the finite world, Joseph Ratzinger’s sense of the rapport between the Old Testament and the New, the contribution of the DeLubac/Ratzinger/Congar generation to theology and the need for a similar “school” of theology today to integrate participation metaphysics, scripture, and doctrine! Talking to Scott Hahn is like taking a deep drink from an intoxicating and refreshing cup. I always feel more alive, more connected, more curious after I speak with him.
In the course of our two-hour conversation, we frequently referred to both Augustine and Aquinas, and at one point I reminded Scott that both of those great figures would have seen the very Pantheon in front of which we were sitting—Augustine while passing through Rome in the 380’s and Aquinas while staying here in the 1260’s. I took the time to ask Scott about Paul, since I’m heading off Friday for our filming trip to the major Pauline sites in Greece and Turkey. He drew my attention to the great hymn in the second chapter of the letter to the Philippians, where Paul reminds us that the glory of God is disclosed precisely in the act of kenotic love on the cross. Two other Hahnian insights stay vividly in my mind. The first is that the two parts of the Mass—the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist—correspond to the two processions within the Godhead, the generation of the Logos by the Father and the spiration of the Spirit by the Father and Son, which is constitutive of the divine communion. The second insight is that Ezekiel’s description of the Shekinah (the glory) of Yahweh leaving the temple applies to the manner in which the divine life quits the soul when one falls into mortal sin. But Jesus, who is the new temple, is the source of revivifying grace.
Dr. Hahn gave a series of lectures at Santa Croce University last week on the relation between the Old and New Testaments. Do keep him in prayer.
Check out tomorrow's blog entry for YouTube footage of a meeting between Father Barron and Scott Hahn here in the Word on Fire office!