Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vulnerability: open self to suffering and to joy.

Fr. RB sent me a box of books this week. He is moving from Kentucky to Austin, Tx and needs to cut back on his stock. The first one I decided to read is called "The Heart of the World: A spiritual catechism: an introduction to Comtempletative Christianity" by Thomas Keating. So far, I love it. It was written by my heart for my heart. Love it. Here is the first exerpt I want to share. (btw, this post is not about Gumbo, but about love, vulnerability, mercy, Christianity.)

"The love of Christ manifested itself in his sheer vulnerability. The crucifix is the sign and expression of the total vulnerability of Jesus: the outstretched arms, the open heart, the forgivness of everything and everyone. This sheer vulnerability made him wide open both ot suffering and to joy.

It was this vulnerability that caused him to experience the pain of Judas' betrayal, as well as the joy of celebraing the Pasch with his disciples.

If there had been no possibility of betrayal, there could have been no Eucharist. If the disciples were to be admitted to his intimate friendship, there could only be loneliness and disappointment when they all abanonded him and fled. Only in the heart of one with boundless readiness to forgive could there have been the pain of Peter's triple denial, and afterwards the joy of reinstating him as chief of the apostles.
If it had not been possible for him to experience abandonment by the Father, there could not have been an infinite depth to his total gift of himself to the Father.
Vulnerability means to be hurt over and over again without seeking ot love less, but more. Divine love is sheer vulnerability - sheer openeness to giving. Hence, when it enters the world, either in the person of Jesus or in one of disciples, it is certain to encounter persecution - death many times over. but it will also encoutner the joy of ever rising again, "For love is stronger than death... nothing can quench its flame." (Song of Sol. 8: 6-7). Being vulnerable means loving one another as Christ loved us. If we did not have to forgive people, we would have no way of mainfesting God's forgiveness toward us. People who injure us are doing us a great favor because they are providing us with the opportunity of passing on the mercy that we have received. By showing mercy, we increase the mercy we receive. The best way to receive divine love is to give it away, and the more we pass on, the more we increase our capacity to receive."

I love you.


  1. What a great post! Maybe I should find that book, it sounds wonderful! Good luck these next few weeks, we'll be praying for you three!!

  2. Great post V!

    Reminds me of some of my thesis research. Hans Urs von Balthasar rights very similar thought in his Christology and Trinitarian theology.

    The following is from the first draft of my thesis. All quotes are from Balthasar's Theo-Drama IV: The Last Act.

    “If Jesus can be forsaken by the Father [on the Cross], the conditions for this ‘forsaking’ must lie within the Trinity.” Balthasar’s Trinitarian theology is deeply rooted in the Scriptures, perhaps most significant for him are 1 John 4, which repeatedly states that God is love, and the kenotic hymn of Philippians 2. The Father in choosing to freely and fully pour himself out for the Son in love, takes a risk. He empties himself completely, all-powerfully, bestowing upon the Son the divine nature itself. Furthermore, this is not something the Father does; this kenotic Love is who he is. Thus, the Father lovingly and all-powerfully embraces powerlessness as he fully, kenotically, pours himself out to the Son. This is the first kenosis, which is the basis for the Son’s kenosis in the Incarnation and on the Cross.
    It follows that the Son possesses the divine nature in the mode of receptivity, and receives it precisely in “this unity of omnipotence and powerlessness from the Father.” The Son’s response to the Father’s self-gift, which is Eucharistic, also determines the Son’s mode of being: self-givenness, which is the ground for his self-gift in the Incarnation and on the Cross. Thus the life of the Trinity is perhaps most clearly revealed in the Cross.

    Jesus' vulnerability can be traced back to the Father's vulnerability in eternity.

    Beautiful and neat stuff!