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Center for Action and Contemplation

Trinity: Week 2 Summary and Kenosis Contemplative Practice

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Trinity: Week 2

Summary: Sunday, September 18-Friday, September 23, 2016

Divine knowing—some would call it spiritual intuition—is actually an allowing of Someone Else to know in us, through us, for us, and even as us. (Sunday)

The divine flow either flows both in and out, or it is not flowing at all. (Monday)

The Trinity reveals a pattern of perfect freedom whereby each of the Three Persons allows the other Two to be fully themselves, and remains in full given-ness toward each of them, while still allowing, protecting, and honoring itself as itself, and forever emptying itself of itself to make room for the other Two. (Tuesday)

Trinitarian revelation begins with the loving—and this is the new definition of being! There is now a hidden communion, an Absolute Friendship at the heart of everything. (Wednesday)

A fully Christian theology and philosophy of the human person must say that our personhood originates in the divine Logos, the eternal Christ, as imitations and reflections of God’s relationship to Godself. We are constituted by the same relationship that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! (Thursday)

Insofar as an appropriate degree of self-love is received, held, enjoyed, trusted, and participated in, this is the same degree to which love can be given away to the rest of the world. You can and you must “love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 19:19)—for your own wholeness and theirs. (Friday)


Practice: Kenosis

The Trinity is unhindered kenosis or self-emptying, self-giving, holding nothing back. Jesus modeled such vulnerability and surrender: becoming human, serving the poor and the sick, and giving up his life. As Paul writes:

Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross. [1]

Contemplative prayer is a practice of kenosis or self-emptying. At its most basic, contemplation is letting go of our habitual thoughts, preferences, judgments, and feelings. Although life itself—love, awe, or suffering—is often the catalyst for our transformation, contemplation is a daily, small death to false self and ego. It prepares a spacious place in which resurrection of True Self can occur.

Imagine you are part of a water wheel. Water flows into one bucket and pours out and into a lower bucket. In the act of lowering and emptying yourself, you make room for more water to fill you. This self-giving flow creates energy and power; it can literally change our relationships, our politics, and our world.

As you practice, I hope this way of being will become part of your actions and interactions with others, beyond your meditation cushion. People filled with the flow will always move away from any need to protect their own power and will be drawn to the powerless, the edge, the bottom, the plain, and the simple. They have all the power they need—and it always overflows, like water, seeking the lowest crevices to fill.

Gateway to Silence:
Love flows in and out, in and out.

[1] Philippians 2:6-8, New Revised Standard Version.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 91.

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation
Richard Rohr and Cynthia Bourgeault, The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of Trinity (CD, DVD, and MP3 download)
Richard Rohr, What Difference Does Trinity Make? (MP3 download)

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