Von Balthasar argues that Jesus is the archetypal child, who lives in constant dependence on His Father, who clings to “Abba,” who is constantly filled with thanks and awe toward His Father. And from that he develops a theology of childhood. Here’s one excerpt (taken from Stasiak’s book, mentioned above):

“To be a child means to owe one’s existence to another, and even in our adult life we never quite reach the point where we no longer have to give thanks for being the person we are. This means that we never quite outgrow our condition of children, nor do we therefore ever outgrow the obligation to give thanks for ourselves or to continue to ask for our being. Individual men, cultures, and institutions may forget this. Only the Christian religion, which in its essence is communicated by the eternal child of God, keeps alive in its believers the lifelong awareness of their being chidlren, and therefore of having to ask and give thanks for things. Jesus does not insist on this childlike ‘say please,’ ‘say thank you,’ because otherwise the gifts would be refused, but in order that they may be recognized as gifts.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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