Pentecost, Spirituality

In Silence, Humbly Beholding the Christ

It starts in a room of silence.  A room where disciples are gathered together in fear, in worry and in prayer.  An Inner Room where disciples behold the Christ in secret (Matthew 6:6).  It is fitting – this silence of the disciples – listening to and beholding this wounded Christ.  Silence mirroring the very heart of Christianity.

“The heart of Christianity that is the self-emptying, kenotic humility of God expressed in Jesus the Christ.  What do we mean by the humility of God, the self-emptying of God, the kenosis of God?

At the heart of God’s humility is this:  God willingly is wounded in the mystery of divine kenosis in Christ.  God’s willing woundedness is without hope of healing as we commonly understand that term.  How do we know this?  In the resurrection, Christ’s wounds are open.  The wound into which Thomas is invited to thrust his hand is not covered over or closed or scarred but open and deep and glorified.  The Resurrection is the sign and celebration of The Transfiguration being wrought by God’s willingness to be wounded” in the crucifixion of Christ.  What form does this transfiguration take?  The Incarnation – merging the sweat and tears in the labor of Mary’s fiat, into The Passion and Crucifixion – the sweat and tears of Christ’s fiat in the agony in the garden and on the cross.  The humility of Christ on the Tree of the Cross transfiguring the tree of the Garden of Eden, the birthplace of lust for control.

“If we are to mirror God, to be in God’s image, to be like God, to invite God to indwell us in the Spirit so that we live Christ’s life in today’s world, we have to be willing to enter our individual wounds and through them the wounds of the community.”  (Ross, pg xvii).  We have to be willing to enter the wounds of history and the world to undertake actions of love and justice (as Kevin Ahern writes).  We have to receive who we are – the Body and Spirit of Christ as gift.  This gift of Body and Spirit freely given exceeds any preconceived, self-conscious sense of “who we are”.  As it has been stated, there is no “I in Pentecost”, there is only a humble Christ who looks with a gaze of love and service to the world.  A gaze of love and service that is the fruit of the Cross – not the fruit of the garden.  This Spirit that is given to us hovers over our waters (Genesis 1:2) – the waters that are the tears and sweat of Mary and Christ’s fiat, the waters that are our tears from our trials and wounds – all merging in the waters of our baptismal font and tested in the crucible of humble silence.

A silence that births a Spiritual Wisdom (as discussed further by Amanda Osheim) that cannot remain in a room.

A silence that speaks:  “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev.21:5)

(Edited by Kevin, July 2012 — the above quotes that now appear in this blog post comes from Pillars of Flame by Maggie Ross pg xvi and xvii which I failed to originally attribute correctly.  It is her inspiration that made me focus my thoughts on this topic and I wish to make that very clear.  The theological reflections of Maggie Ross and myself have been quite similar over the last couple of years.  As I do my research into Christian epistemology and practice and I have benefited greatly from her work.  In drafting this very brief reflection, I was working from notes where quotes from Ross’ work and my thoughts were merged.  Due to lack of care, I failed to make sure that my notes were clear of any direct quotes or exact ideas from Ross’ work.  I want to rectify that now and make clear to anyone reading this post what is from Ross’ work.  I highly encourage anyone interested in this line of thinking to read The Pillars of Flame in order to benefit from it as I have.  Ross’ work is grounded in very good Christian epistemology and deepened Christian prayer and sacramental practice and so is immensely helpful in reflecting on the Christian tradition and helping one develop one’s own reflections on the topics discussed in this post).

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About Kevin M Johnson

Doctoral Candidate in Theology and President of the non-profit corporation and Roman Catholic lay association, The Inner Room.

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