The fourth volume in von Balthasar's essays is built around the theme of Spirit and Institution, the two central features of the Church which Balthasar approaches from different angles. The third volume is built around the theme of the Holy Spirit as the Creator Spirit. The first volume was constructed around the mid-point of the Word become man, and the second volume around the Church which becomes configured to him.
The first part of the book looks at who man is, and then examines the distinctively Christian experience of God. Part two is a whole section on the Church which includes topics like celibacy and the priesthood today, how we should love the Church, and understanding Christian mysticism. The third and final part is an eschatology in which Balthasar gives a brilliant summary of heaven, hell and purgatory.
Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) was a Swiss theologian widely regarded as one of the greatest theologians and spiritual writers of modern times. Named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, he died shortly before being formally inducted into the College of Cardinals. He wrote over one hundred books, including Prayer, Heart of the World, Mary for Today, Love Alone Is Credible, Mysterium Paschale and his major multi-volume theological works: The Glory of the Lord, Theo-Drama and Theo-Logic.